February 13, 2023

Cortez Masto Announces New Funding for Environmental Cleanup in Northern Nevada

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will provide funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law the Senator helped pass to support cleanup efforts at the Carson River Mercury Site in Lyon and Storey counties.  

“This funding I delivered in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will go a long way in supporting the continued cleanup of communities impacted by legacy contamination,” said Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. “I’ll always fight to get Nevada the resources we need to keep our land and water clean and our families safe.”

“EPA continues to work hard at the Carson River site to address the legacy of contamination caused by 19th century mining. Our work is currently focused on ensuring that residents, especially young children, are protected from contamination in outdoor residential spaces,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “This new support from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will strengthen our efforts to keep these communities safe while helping preserve this area’s rich history.”

Specifically, this funding will help communities clean up contaminated properties and implement a voluntary residential sampling program in 2023.

Over a century ago, miners at what is now the Carson River Mercury Superfund site used mercury to process gold and silver ore. Over time, this mining process released an estimated 14 million pounds of mercury into the environment. Mining activities also caused arsenic and lead contamination in certain areas of this site. In 1990, the Carson River Mercury Superfund Site became part of the National Priorities List of Superfund sites, which consists of some of the most toxic sites in the country. Since the early 2000s, EPA and the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection have been working with local developers to sample residential areas, which has resulted in removing and/or capping contaminated soil. These activities help protect people from exposure to soil with high levels of mercury, arsenic, and lead.

Visit EPA’s Carson River Mercury Site webpage for more information.