The U.S. Department of Energy chose Waste Control Specialists in Texas as the site that will accept approximately 6,800 metric tons of waste elemental mercury that is a generated by gold mining companies and other entities.
Hawthorne Army Depot had been considered in December of 2019 along with Department of Energy’s Grand Junction Disposal Site in Colorado; Department of Energy’s Hanford Site in Washington; Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center and Radioactive Waste Management Complex at the Department of Energy Idaho National Laboratory as well as sites in Missouri and South Carolina.
The Department of Energy also established a final rule establishing a fee for the long-term transportation, storage and management of elemental mercury at the Waste Control Specialists site. The fee of $37,000 for one ton of the elemental mercury delivered to the site.
A press release from EHS Daily Advisor explained that “Once the elemental mercury is delivered, the DOE takes custody of it and assumes liability form the generator. Because generators are not obligated to ship mercury to the WCS site, the transfer of liability is intended to be an incentive to make use of the facility, thereby ensuring what the government believes to be a high level of protection against environmental accidents involving mercury or other uses of the substances that may violate federal law or otherwise endanger people or the environment.”