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Nevada Gets $1 Billion Of Pollution Settlement

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KXNT file photo  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

KXNT file photo (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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(LAS VEGAS, KXNT)–The state of Nevada will get a billion dollars from Anadarko Petroleum as part of the massive water pollution settlement. The national settlement is for $5 billion.

The state will receive money for cleanup efforts from perchlorates that entered Lake Mead and surrounding soil. The source was a Kerr McGee plant in Henderson that made rocket fuel.

The state says its been cleaning up the site since 1997, and now perchlorate levels are below the detection limit, and the settlement money will continue remediation and eradication efforts.

Officials say Kerr McGee created a separate firm, Tronox, to conduct the cleanup beginning in 2005. But the firm later declared bankruptcy. Kerr McGee was accused of purposely trying to avoid payment for cleanup work.

The state’s Department of Natural Resources describes perchlorate as a naturally-occurring and man-made chemical used as a component of rocket fuel and fertilizer. It was was first detected in the Lower Colorado River in 1997.

Due to possible environmental health concerns that perchlorate interferes with thyroid function, state water authorities began to investigate the source of the perchlorate.

Perchlorate entering the Las Vegas Wash has been reduced approximately 90% since 1997. As of August 2008, approximately 2,638 tons of perchlorate have been removed from the environment. NDEP continues to monitor perchlorate levels reported in the Lower Colorado River, which is below the safety limit set by EPA in February 2005.

Perchlorate was entering the Las Vegas Wash through contaminated groundwater and surface water stemming from a manufacturing facility owned and operated by Kerr-McGee Chemical LLC (currently Tronox LLC).

In a statement, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval said “This is a monumental development for Nevada. The hard work of the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection to not only direct the very successful perchlorate removal project, but also to pursue this significant settlement, is a huge win for southern Nevada and the more than 30 million people that rely on the Colorado River as their source of drinking water.”

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