Help is on the way for Leviathan
Help appears to be on the way for the abandoned Leviathan Mine and its neighbors downstream in Carson Valley. Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nevada, announced earlier this week that the old sulfur mine is to be listed as an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site.
The “super” designation, in this case, means that the site is one of the most polluted areas in the country. However, the acknowledgment also empowers the federal government to go after the people who are responsible for this mess high in Alpine County and force their assistance in cleanup and remediation efforts.
The mine operated intermittently from 1863 to 1962, producing copper sulfate and sulfur. Water that leaches through the tailings produces sulfuric acid, which in turn dissolves minerals such as aluminum, copper and arsenic. The toxic runoff has contaminated everything in its path to the Leviathan and Bryant creeks, which drain into the east fork of the Carson River, threatening the Valley water supply.
Who can say if the site will ever be restored to its pristine nature of 140 years ago? That’s a question the Washoe Tribe would like answered in the positive as the toxins from the mine have spoiled native Washoe lands for generations.
The Tribe has been instrumental in getting the federal government to do something about cleaning up the 250-acre site.
The EPA will hold a meeting May 24 at 7 p.m. in the library at Carson Valley Middle School to discuss the implications of listing the mine on the National Priorities List.
It’s a crucial opportunity for the community to learn what the listing means and to provide input.