Background and information
Recent news coverage has generated interest in the state’s role in the Antelope Valley Pesticide Container Site. The container site is located about 50 miles south of Battle Mountain in north-central Nevada.
This page has been created by the State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and its Division of Environmental Protection to provide information about the container site, as well as to post documents associated with the site in order that the public may read them directly and assess them independently.
This site will be updated periodically to clarify information or update new information. Last update: November 20, 2012 (Antelope Valley Final Report added).
Questions and answers
Q: Does the site pose a health risk?
A: All data and scientific studies indicate the site does not pose a risk to human health and the environment. For clarification, this site was not a pesticide disposal site. It was for already empty and/or rinsed pesticide containers. The information contained within the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection’s files is posted below.
Q: What is being done now?
A: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the federal property manager for the site, has contacted the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) to request NDEP provide its expertise to help BLM properly close the site consistent with past direction.
Q: Why wasn’t the site closed previously?
A: NDEP advised the BLM in 1993 to take steps to close and cover the site since the federal agency was the responsible land manager. Repeated, independent on-site sampling/testing and scientific evaluation of the Antelope Valley site, said that there was no indication the site posed a threat to human health or to the environment. In the 1980s and 1990s, and continuing today, NDEP focuses its limited resources on sites that pose risks to human health and to the environment.
Q: Why do DCNR and NDEP believe they need to provide an independent source of information on the Antelope Valley Container Site?
A: DCNR has been forthcoming on this matter and has provided documentation, as well as referrals to other relevant agencies, to the reporter covering this story. Unfortunately, the reporter has ignored and/or diminished salient facts, and has chosen to speculate on scenarios for his readers. In fact, the Reno Gazette-Journal posted on its Web site only one half of a page of a 31-page report. The upper half of the posted page, which appears to be intentionally covered, contained important information, and the entire 31-page document was not made available to the public. This document in its entirety has been posted below and should be read by members of the public if they are to understand the answer to the question: Does this site pose a potential health risk? As a public agency, NDEP is obligated to rely on what the scientific data show and the recommendations of environmental experts.
[EDIT 8/30/09: After DCNR posted this page on Friday (8/28) the Reno Gazette-Journal posted the entire AEPCO report instead of the half-covered single page it previously had posted. The RGJ appears to have made other changes to the articles and to the titles of documentation posted on its Web site.]
- Story clarification August 24, 2009: Clarifying yesterday’s reporting in the Reno Gazette-Journal (updated August 26, 2009)
- The Reno Gazette-Journal’s reporting (August 24, 2009)
All of these documents in their entirety are posted on this page. Relevant passages from these documents havebeen identified; however, all readers are encouraged to read the entire document(s).
Antelope Valley Final Report (November 2012).
Work Plan for Remedial Action and Closure (January 2011).
Final AV Pesticide Container Disposal Site Characterization and Disposal Recommendations (April 2010). Weston Solutions, Inc. prepared a new site characterization for the Bureau of Land Management and made disposal recommendations. Download the appendices (83mb) and the Figures and Tables (2.5mb). The soil sampling — surface and sub-surface — are reported as non-detect for all pesticides.
Nev. Dept. of Agriculture Water Sampling Test Results (September 2009). The Nevada Department of Agriculture tested a number of wells in the Antelope Valley area at the request of residents. NDOA sent the results, which indicate no pesticide contamination in any of the wells sampled, to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.
The Weston Report (1988). This report was completed in 1988, and it documents the history of the site as well as conducted scientific studies of the site to determine potential contamination at the site. The report’s summary conclusion states:
“The chemical results indicate significant soil contamination does not exist at the site. Based on these results, the low annual rainfall (around 7 inches) and the buffer distance of one mile to the nearest well indicate that a threat to human health or the environment does not exist.”
RGJ’s AEPCO Preliminary Assessment ‘Draft Report’ (1986).This report, as posted on the Reno Gazette-Journal Web site, is incomplete. The portion posted on the Reno Gazette-Journal’s Web site is one page and lists only two points. The top half of the page is covered by a portion of the cover of the report. [EDIT 8/30/09: After DCNR posted this page on Friday (8/28) the Reno Gazette-Journal posted the entire AEPCO report instead of the half-covered single page it previously had posted.]
COMPLETE AEPCO Preliminary Assessment ‘Draft Report’ (1986). This is the complete report that was not posted on the Reno Gazette-Journal’s Web site. The “Major Study Findings” state:
“Because of the presence of small quantities of relatively immobile organic contaminants on the site, it is concluded that contaminant migration via the groundwater route at the site is not currently a problem.
“Based on the laboratory results for the sampling conducted on January 14 and October 15, 1986, there are currently no potential health risks from the consumption of groundwater, the primary source of drinking water in the region. The large distance between the site and the local residents acts as a buffer to further reduce such a threat.
“A small quantity of relatively immobile alpha-endosulfan (SEE REPORT ON ALPHA-ENDOSULFAN POSTED BELOW BY DCNR/NDEP) was detected to be present on the site. The wastes on site are considered not flammable, non-ignitable and non-corrosive. Generally, they present neither compatibility nor reactivity problems, are non-volatile, and not hazardous. There is small risk of onsite contact or release of contaminants to the environment in forms or quantities that would constitute a significant hazard to human health or to the environment. These considerations justify the classification of the site as a Class II site.”
A Class II site is defined as such: “Hazardous wastes or other hazardous substances are present but there is small risk of onsite contact or release of contaminants to the environment in such form and quantity that would constitute a significant hazard to human health or to the environment.”
Ecology and Environment, Inc. 1988 report. The report’s recommendation states:
“1) EPA, FIT recommends no further action under CERCLA for Antelope. It does not, appear that this site could qualify for inclusion on the NPL due to the
- low groundwater target population;
- no surface water target population;
- low air route target population; and
- small quantity of hazardous waste.
“2) State or Other Agency, Copies of this reassessment will be sent to BLM and the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection for their consideration.”
EPA Potential Hazardous Waste Site Identification and Preliminary Assessment form (1979). This report cites potentially hazardous materials and “midnight dumping” but a “low” apparent seriousness of problem.
Disposal sites for waste pesticide containers in Nevada (April 25, 1972). This document outlines guidelines recommended by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, State Department of Agriculture and Soil Conservation Service and Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service for the design of such a site.
Soil, vegetation and water sampling reports from the 1970s
The reports indicate low or no contamination found in tests of water, soil and vegetation.
- Fall 1973
- Fall 1974 (.003 ppm DDE is noted and is below NDEP’s current action level of 1.4 ppm)
- Spring 1974
- Spring 1975 (.002 DDE ppm is noted and is below NDEP’s current action level of 1.4 ppm)
- Fall 1975 (site not included)
- Spring 1976
- Fall 1976
- Spring 1977
- Fall 1977
DEP letter to BLM (1993-05-19). NDEP discusses a meeting that took place April 28, 1993 at the site, and it recommends to BLM the need for groundwater monitoring wells.
DEP letter to BLM (1993-03-30). NDEP recommends off-site disposal of waste materials and requests well monitoring by BLM.
DEP letter to BLM (1992-12-28). NDEP recommends closure procedures and offers technical expertise.
Hand-written correspondence to BLM and Lander County Commissioners (1989-04-18). This appears to say that the site has not been attended to and will eventually require a professonal hazardous waste site cleanup.
USDI letter to Lander County Commissioners (1989-04-12). Discusses glass jars found at site containing Dibrom 8 and their disposal.
DEP letter to Art Aten, “Grower” (1978-6-15)