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RE: mercury disposition



The USGS has a more recent "material flow" report on mercury 
at http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/2000/c1197/c1197.pdf.  

I'm a little frustrated with the data in the USGS report.  It 
incorporates information found in an EPA report on mercury 
emissions published in 1997 with what might be thought of as 
more traditional USGS data on intentional extraction, 
imports, and exports. However, it doesn't take a cradle-to-
grave approach when accounting for mercury flows in the 
United States, and environmental release and disposal values 
aren't tied to extraction and importation values.

The results presented don't account for preservation of the 
mass of mercury across process changes. Mercury is an element 
and cannot be created or destroyed. Therefore, the mercury 
entering commerce, either intentionally or unintentionally, 
must equal the amount leaving commerce (entering either 
disposal or release to the environment), plus the amount of 
increase in stockpiles. The USGS data don't balance. Also, 
USGS data do not account roughly two-thirds of the total 
mercury that is recycled and half of the amount that is 
released to the environment.  Big data gap.

The TRI-reported landfill quantity in 2001 exceeds total 
annual demand for mercury presented in the USGS report. You 
have to remember that TRI reporting is required for only a 
portion of facilities that use and dispose of mercury. 
Hospitals, for example, are excluded from TRI reporting 
requirements.

So there are some serious data gaps, is what I'm trying to 
say.  

-Kirsten

---- Original message ----
>Date: Wed, 10 Mar 2004 08:57:35 -0500
>From: "Sobin,Rodney" <rsobin@deq.state.va.us>  
>Subject: RE: mercury disposition  
>To: "Sue Schauls" <sue.schauls@uni.edu>, "Kelly Moran" 
<kmoran@tdcenvironmental.com>, <p2tech@great-lakes.net>
>
>Dear P2Techers--
>
>This discussion thread brings up a good industrial ecology 
question.  What to do with mercury?  Do we need a Yucca 
Mountain type repository for mercury? (Hmmm, imagine the 
world's greatest dental filling. Yeah, I know it wouldn't 
really be dental amalgam.)
>
>If we reduce and phase out Hg use in products and processes 
and we continue to generate some as a gold mining byproduct 
and we at some point get serious about Hg controls on coal-
fired power plants then we'll accumulate a lot of mercury 
that has to go somewhere.
>
>In case anyone is interested, here's an excerpt (omitting 
tables) from a 1999 USGS report summarizing mercury at 
http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/mercury/43039
9.pdf , which was cited in a May 2000 P2Tech posting found 
via Google--
>Domestic Production and Use: Recovery of mercury from 
obsolete or worn out items remains the primary source of
>domestic mercury production. Several companies in the 
eastern and central United States recovered mercury from a
>variety of secondary sources such as batteries, chlor-alkali 
wastewater sludges, dental amalgams, electrical apparatus,
>fluorescent light tubes, and measuring instruments. Domestic 
mine production of mercury was limited to a very small
>quantity of byproduct production from fewer than 10 gold 
mines in California, Nevada, and Utah. The value of mercury
>used in the United States was estimated at approximately $2 
million. It was estimated that approximately 35% of the
>mercury consumed domestically was used in the manufacture of 
chlorine and caustic soda and 30% for electrical and
>electronic applications. The remaining 35% was used for 
applications such as measuring and control instruments and
>dental amalgams.
>Recycling: About 400 tons of mercury was recovered from old 
scrap in 1998.
>Import Sources (1994-97): Russia, 37%; Canada, 25%; 
Kyrgyzstan, 13%; Spain, 10%; and other, 15%.
>
>Events, Trends, and Issues: Federal, State, and local 
jurisdictions are concerned about mercury emissions and/or the
>final disposition of mercury-bearing products. As a result, 
stringent environmental regulations are likely to continue as
>the major determinants of domestic mercury supply and 
demand. The major component of supply will remain the
>secondary industry, owing to the recycling of many worn out 
or obsolete products and various wastes to avoid deposition
>in landfills. Domestic primary production is expected to 
remain limited to byproduct production where the mercury is
>recovered to avoid emissions to the environment. Domestic 
mercury consumption will continue to decline as mercury is
>gradually eliminated in many products, or as substitute 
products are developed.
>Sales from the National Defense Stockpile remain suspended 
pending completion of an analysis of the potential
>environmental impact of the sales.
>
>
>Regards,
>Rod
>
>Rodney Sobin
>Office of Air Permit Programs (and former Innovative 
Technology Manager)
>Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
>Postal: P.O. Box 10009, Richmond, VA 23240-0009
>Street:  629 E. Main St., Richmond, VA 23233-2429
>Tel. 804-698-4382	fax 804-698-4264  
Rsobin@deq.state.va.us
>________________________________________________________
>DEQ Air Quality http://www.deq.state.va.us/air/
>DEQ Innovative Technology 
http://www.deq.state.va.us/innovtech
>DEQ Distributed Energy Resources 
http://www.deq.state.va.us/innovtech/der1.html
>Chesapeake Bay Program Innovative Technology 
http://www.chesapeakebay.net/innovative.htm
>Environmental Assistance for Small Businesses 
http://www.deq.state.va.us/osba/smallbiz.html
>Virginia Environmental Services Network http://www.vesn.org
>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From:	Sue Schauls [SMTP:sue.schauls@uni.edu]
>> Sent:	Tuesday, March 09, 2004 5:32 PM
>> To:	Kelly Moran; p2tech@great-lakes.net
>> Subject:	Re: mercury disposition> 
>> 
>> It also brings up the point that removing mercury 
containing devices that
>> are in working order and not currently exposed to the 
environment seems
>> counter-productive to P2 - as it then just increases the 
potential for
>> contamination throught the handling process.
>> 
>> 
>> ----- Original Message ----- 
>> From: "Kelly Moran" <kmoran@tdcenvironmental.com>
>> To: <p2tech@great-lakes.net>
>> Sent: Tuesday, March 09, 2004 4:00 PM
>> Subject: Re: mercury disposition
>> 
>> 
>> > The fundamental question inherent in this discussion is 
whether it is
>> > appropriate for agencies seeking to reduce or eliminate 
use of mercury
>> > products to tell people disposing of unwanted mercury 
that the most
>> > environmentally sound disposal method involves recycling 
of mercury into
>> > new mercury-containing products.  When I've had to tell 
residents and
>> > businesses that the fate of the mercury they are 
removing is that it
>> > will be recycled into new mercury-containing products, 
they have laughed
>> > and then become discouraged as to whether their personal 
efforts will
>> > have a meaningful environmental benefit.  These 
reactions don't help the
>> > effort to reduce human and environmental exposures to 
mercury.
>> >
>> > If the goal is to avoid use of mercury containing 
products, it doesn't
>> > seem logical to encourage recycling for reuse.  It would 
be great to be
>> > able to point to another environmentally sound 
alternative.
>> >
>> > Kelly Moran
>> > TDC Environmental
>> >
>> > Sue Schauls wrote:
>> >
>> > >Check out the Wisconsin DNR's mercury information 
website - it is the
>> best
>> > >resources on the web in my opinion:
>> >
>> 
>http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/caer/cea/assistance/mercury/th
ermostat/contr
>> actor.htm
>> > >
>> > >Then look at the Thermostat Recycling Corporation's 
free service at
>> > >http://www.nema.org/index_nema.cfm/664
>> > >The Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC), a not-for-
profit corporation
>> > >owned by three NEMA member companies, facilitates the 
collection by HVAC
>> > >wholesalers from contractors of all brands of used, 
wall-mounted
>> > >mercury-switch thermostats so that the mercury can be 
purified for
>> re-use.
>> > >
>> > >----- Original Message ----- 
>> > >From: "Kathy Barwick" <KBarwick@dtsc.ca.gov>
>> > >To: <p2tech@great-lakes.net>
>> > >Cc: "Mary Pride" <mkpride@dtsc.ca.gov>
>> > >Sent: Tuesday, March 09, 2004 11:39 AM
>> > >Subject: mercury disposition
>> > >
>> > >
>> > >
>> > >
>> > >>Hi everyone. I'm working on a SEP where we expect the 
facility to change
>> > >>out mercury switches containing a total of 30 to 50 
pounds of mercury.
>> > >>I'm wondering if we should be specifying anything in 
the settlement
>> > >>requiring the facility to ensure the mercury that is 
removed is
>> > >>sequestered or otherwise taken out of commerce.
>> > >>
>> > >>What are we (p2 community) telling people to do with 
the mercury we're
>> > >>removing from the environment?
>> > >>
>> > >>Thanks much for any assistance. . .
>> > >>
>> > >>Kathy Barwick
>> > >>Sacramento Region Pollution
>> > >>    Prevention Coordinator
>> > >>Dept. of Toxic Substances Control
>> > >>(916) 255-6421
>> > >>fax (916) 255-3595
>> > >>
>> > >>
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===============================
Kirsten Sinclair Rosselot, P.E.
Process Profiles
P.O. Box 8264
Calabasas, CA 91372-8264

ksrosselot@processprofiles.com
http://www.processprofiles.com

(818) 878-0454
===============================

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