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Mercury Increase In Reno Area Creek No Problem, State Says

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(AP Photo/Scott Sonner).

A red pickup truck sits abandoned it after it got stuck in floodwaters Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, on a closed road at a University of Nevada, Reno, research farm bordering the Truckee River south of U.S. Interstate 80.

Heavy rain drenched Las Vegas, but in Reno, it was wave after wave of heavy snow.

In Reno, the series of storms led to flooding of Steamboat Creek.

The flooding stirred up sediment in the bottom of the creek, released mercury that had been sitting there for some 100 years or more. As a result, mercury levels in the creek grew to 1,000 times their normal level, according to the state Division of Environmental Protect.

Jeff Collins, chief of the division’s Bureau of Corrective Actions, said people are not in danger from the increase mercury concentration.

“The reason we say that is there is no people drinking that water," he said, "That flood water is not being ingested”

Collins alos said the mercury, left from millions of pounds of it used in the 1800s to mine gold and silver, isn’t likely to seep into groundwater.

In addition, Collins said, people in the area are continually warned not to eat fish from the creek. 

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Jeff Collins, chief, Bureau of Corrective Actions, Nevada Division of Environmenal Protection

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