Nevada Environmental Response Trust (NERT)

Some of the major components of NERT's groundwater treatment system include fluidized bed reactors, media separators, and an above-ground ethanol storage tank.
Some of the major components of NERT's groundwater treatment system include fluidized bed reactors, media separators, and an above-ground ethanol storage tank.

Background
Current Status
Perchlorate
Downloadable Documents
Additional Information


Background

Basic Magnesium Incorporated (BMI) was incorporated in 1941 to build and operate a magnesium production plant near what would become Henderson, Nevada in support of the World War II effort.  In August 1941, the U.S. Government funded the BMI effort and that plant produced magnesium from 1942 through 1944, after which the plant was shut-down.  After the war, Western Electrochemical Company (WECCO) leased a portion of the BMI industrial complex, and by August 1952, WECCO had purchased several other portions of the BMI complex for its various production lines.  In 1954, American Potash and Chemical Company (AP&CC) acquired WECCO and continued the chemical manufacturing operations.  AP&CC purchased an existing ammonium perchlorate production plant in 1962 that was located within the BMI complex; the plant was constructed by WECCO for the U.S. Navy in the early 1950’s.  AP&CC merged with Kerr-McGee Corporation (Kerr-McGee) in 1967, and operations continued under the Kerr-McGee name.  Kerr-McGee continued its operations and a subsequent environmental investigation and characterization of the groundwater beneath the property in the 1980’s led to the installation of a treatment system for the removal of hexavalent chromium from groundwater.  In 1997, perchlorate was discovered in the vicinity of the Las Vegas Wash, and in 1999, Kerr McGee began operation of a temporary treatment system for environmental remediation of the perchlorate-impacted groundwater.  In 2002, the treatment system was replaced with the currently existing groundwater extraction and treatment system (GWETS).  In 2005, Kerr-McGee spun off a subsidiary company named Tronox LLC, and in 2009, Tronox LLC filed for bankruptcy.  As a result, the Nevada Environmental Response Trust (NERT) was established in February 2011 and became the owner of the property that was previously owned by Tronox while it performs its purpose to remediate this historical legacy contamination.

Anadarko Settlement

Visit the EPA's website to learn about the Anadarko Settlement.


Current Status

The NERT Site has achieved significant progress in its groundwater monitoring and remediation efforts as of the latest update. The revised groundwater monitoring program, approved by NDEP on October 27, 2022, has facilitated streamlined data transmittals and remedial performance summaries. Key achievements include the removal of 236,900 pounds of perchlorate in 2022, contributing to a total of 12,648,020 pounds removed since its initial detection at the seep.

The Continuous Optimization Program, initiated in 2015, has demonstrated commendable advancements in increasing both mass removal and extraction flow rates from the Athens Well Field and the Seep Well Field. The Ion Exchange remediation system, strategically located near Las Vegas Wash at Lift Station #1, enhances the Groundwater Extraction and Treatment System's capabilities, allowing for improved water level management, increased extraction capacity, enhanced emergency response, and heightened mass and hydraulic capture in the Seep Well Field.

Infrastructure upgrades in 2022 and 2023, including improvements to the chromium treatment plant, effluent water reuse system, TIMET Treatment System Extension, and other infrastructures, have bolstered NERT's operational capacity, hydraulic capture, and mass reduction capabilities.

In terms of remediation field investigations, NERT successfully completed all field remediation investigations in 2022 and is diligently working on technical reports. The remedial investigation (RI) report for OU-1 and OU-2 Revision 1 was submitted to NDEP on August 15, 2023.

Key milestones for the NERT site in 2022 include the completion of field implementations for OU-1 and OU-2 RI, with nearly 5,990 samples collected and over 433,700 analytical results generated. Similarly, the OU-3 RI field implementation was completed, involving the collection of approximately 5,200 samples and the generation of over 46,350 analytical results. Additionally, 100 technologies were screened, leading to 15 advancements to desktop or lab scale and 6 progressing to field implementation. A portfolio of 10 field studies, including 2 underway, 3 in final reporting, and 5 completed, further highlights the site's commitment to comprehensive remediation.

NERT also successfully conducted an NDEP-directed indoor air evaluation in the Pittman neighborhood. In parallel, the AP-5 Solids Dewatering, Disposal, and Pond Decommission project, initiated in 2016 and completed in 2020, resulted in the destruction of 1,400,000 pounds of perchlorate.

The Dewatering Ion Exchange System, constructed near the Las Vegas Wash in the third quarter of 2017, successfully treated shallow groundwater associated with the Southern Nevada Water Authority's erosion control structures. Completion in 2018 destroyed about 6,000 pounds of perchlorate, with the decommission and site restoration concluding in 2023.

A significant development is the approval of the Feasibility Study Work Plan for OU-1 and OU-2 by NDEP on October 20, 2023, indicating a proactive approach to future remediation efforts.


Perchlorate

Perchlorate, a chemical that dissolves easily in water, was discovered in the Lower Colorado River in 1997.  It was ultimately determined that the source of the perchlorate was contaminated groundwater underlying the former PEPCON and Kerr-McGee sites, which had been involved in the perchlorate production business for several decades.  Treatment systems were subsequently implemented by both sites to remove the perchlorate from the impacted groundwater.  The treatment systems are currently operated by Endeavour and the Nevada Environmental Response Trust.

Download the EPA's Technical Fact Sheet to learn more about perchlorate.

View the perchlorate plume map to see where the perchlorate is located.

Find out more about the perchlorate plume and associated remediation efforts.


Downloadable Documents

To view and download recent documents (2023) from the administrative record, please visit https://ecms.nv.gov/ndep/.

Documents from the administrative record may also be requested by submitting a Public Records Request Form.

Select documents can also be downloaded from the NERT Document Repository.


Additional Information

For more information, please contact Weiquan Dong at:
wdong [at] ndep.nv.gov or 702-668-3929

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