SRS mercury storage meeting next week

The U.S. Department of Energy will extend by one week the comment period for its plan to study seven locations -- including Savannah River Site -- as a possible home for a long-term repository for mercury.

Such a facility, which would open by Jan. 1, 2013, will be designed to accommodate 7,500 to 10,000 metric tons of mercury from nongovernment sources over a 40-year period, in addition to large amounts of mercury already stored in government facilities.

A series of public scoping meetings are being held across the country to discuss the plan. The meeting to discuss SRS will be 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. July 30 at the North Augusta Municipal Center, 100 Georgia Ave.

A DOE public notice issued July 1 offered a 45-day comment period that has been extended to 52 days, now ending Aug. 24. To submit comments or get details on the plan, visit www.mercurystorageeis.com.

The need for such a repository is outlined in a 2008 law -- the Mercury Export Ban -- that requires DOE to designate a facility for the "long-term management and storage of elemental mercury generated within the U.S."

Much of the mercury to be stored comes from chlorine factories, waste recycling, gold mining and other industrial processes.

In addition to SRS, the department will evaluate Grand Junction Disposal Site in Grand Junction, Colo.; Hanford Site in Richland, Wash.; Hawthorne Army Depot in Hawthorne, Nev.; Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls, Idaho; Kansas City Plant in Kansas City, Mo; and Waste Control Specialists in Andrews, Texas.