NID’s Combie Reservoir Mercury project slated for $3M

SAN FRANCISCO, 12 May 2010 – Yesterday, Senator Dianne Feinstein’s Appropriations Requests for Fiscal Year 2011were published.  Included in her Environmental Protection Agency requests is $3 million for Nevada Irrigation District’s Combie Reservoir Sediment and Mercury Removal project. 

The project proposes to remove 300 pounds of Gold Rush-era mercury contaminating Combie Reservoir.  Mercury contamination led the Regional Water Quality Control Board to halt dredging that maintained the Reservoir’s water storage capacity.  NID is working on a new approach to remove mercury, using a centrifuge to ‘spin out’ the mercury from dredged sediment.  NID expects they will be able to remove 200 pounds of mercury and 200,000 tons of sediment over a five year period.  This is a valuable use of taxpayer money because it will restore a public drinking water supply and prove a technique that can be used by other water districts with similar problems.

Senator Feinstein’s appropriations will be included in the President’s budget, which must be approved by Congress.  The Sierra Fund supported this appropriation, as part of our work to bring more funding to the Sierra Nevada, and to legacy mining contamination in particular.  Many other local organizations and agencies also supported this proposal.  TSF will continue to support this appropriation and track its passage through Congress. 

Click here for the complete list of Senator Feinstein’s 2011 Appropriations Requests for Interior, Environment and Related Agencies