Feds: Grand Valley not a suitable place for mercury storage

The Grand Valley wouldn’t make a good location for a proposed federal mercury storage facility, a U.S. Department of Energy environmental study has determined.

The final environmental impact statement on where to store all of the federal government’s mercury waste has determined that the preferred site is near the department’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant about 26 miles south of Carlsbad, N.M.

The department’s Grand Junction Disposal Site, located in the high desert south of town, was one of seven sites nationwide that the department was considering as a permanent mercury storage facility.

But the department’s Final Long-Term Management and Storage of Elemental Mercury Supplement Environmental Impact Statement, which was completed late last month, determined that the Grand Junction location at the Cheney Reservoir uranium mill tailings waste disposal site had too many issues.

“New facility construction would result in negligible impacts on cultural resources because it would occur in previously disturbed industrialized areas, except at the DOE Grand Junction Disposal Site in Colorado,” the study says. “Existing utility capacity in the vicinity of the candidate sites is adequate and could easily accommodate utility demands for construction and operations at all candidate sites except at the DOE Grand Junction Site in Colorado.”

The department is to make a final decision on which site will house the storage facility sometime next month.


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