Friday, April 8, 2011

Twenty-Year-Long Contamination Cleanup in Nevada Develops Into Feud

The legacy of environmental contamination is the negative effects on earth's living creatures, but it also has marginal effects, such as on those that are born from conflicts among people. Many times these clashes extend for generations since the contamination often lives at least that long.

Termed a modern-day “Hatfields and McCoys,” the conflict playing out in Nevada over a groundwater treatment plant at the Black Mountain Industrial Complex has all the hallmarks of a family feud except, as is usually the case these days, it is about money and not someone’s hurt pride.

At the crux of the disagreement is who will pay the estimated $900,000 to repair equipment that removes chlorine and chemicals from the groundwater below the complex. The equipment was installed 20 years ago under the orders of the Nevada Environmental Protection Division to clean up a contamination legacy left from Kerr-McGee, American Pacific, Montrose Chemical and Stauffer Management. Some of the contamination goes back to magnesium production during WWII when waste was routinely dumped into unlined pits, or channeled through ditches to locations off-site.

Recently, this feud spawned actions by one party that could have led to massive contamination, while the other party used boulders to block access to a facility.

Here’s the whole story.

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