Anaconda copper mine

Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro (left) and Yerington Paiute Tribal Chair Laurie Thom listen to a community member during a recent campaign stop.
Paul Boger / KUNR Public Radio

Former Obama-era Housing and Urban Development Secretary and Democratic Presidential Candidate Julian Castro says more needs to be done to help communities affected by hazardous waste.

What's In The Water?

Nov 14, 2019
A pit lake covers the former Anaconda Copper Mine in Yerington.
Paul Boger / KUNR Public Radio

In the U.S., nearly a quarter of the freshwater we use comes from underground aquifers. That's nearly 80 billion gallons of groundwater every day. As climate change and drought become more prevalent, so does our dependence on groundwater, but what happens when it becomes polluted?

Ken Lund / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Anaconda Copper Mine near Yerington, which has been out of operation since the late 1990s, may soon have a new cleanup strategy.

The state of Nevada is hoping to take the lead on restoring the site, and has formally requested that the EPA hold off on adding it to its national priority list.

Ken Lund / Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

The Anaconda Copper Mine near Yerington is one step closer to getting federal funds to help officially clean up the site. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick reports.

The Environmental Protection Agency officially added its proposal for the site to the Superfund program’s National Priority List last week.

If accepted, federal funds would be available for the EPA, Nevada Department of Environmental Protection and the Bureau of Land Management to begin cleaning up the site as early as next year.

Ken Lund / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

With Governor Sandoval’s reluctant approval, the EPA can now propose adding the Anaconda Copper Mine site to its National Priority List. The move would open up federal funding to help in cleanup efforts. But there’s ongoing concern that it could create a negative stigma for area farmers. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick reports.

David Peri, along with his wife Pam, are the owners of Peri and Sons Farms.

“Our big thing that we moved down here to do is fresh market onions,” says Peri. “We’re one of the larger grower/packer/shippers in the country.”

Ken Lund / CC BY-SA 2.0

Governor Brian Sandoval has cautiously agreed to put the Anaconda Copper Mine on the National Priority List, opening up federal funding for clean up efforts. Reno Public Radio's Noah Glick reports.

The cost to clean up the site is estimated at $31 million. By getting it on the EPA’s National Priority List, Governor Sandoval hopes that federal dollars can provide a solution.