Compliments to the Auburn Journal for the Jan. 23 reporting on mercury removal from Lake Combie (“Lake Combie mercury removal project crosses another hurdle”).
The $7 million project proposes to remove 100 pounds of mercury from the lake bed where it has lodged for over 100 years. The mercury now imbedded in the floor of the lake has resisted storm flow surges from 1986, 1990, 1995 and earlier; others.
The proposal seems a solution looking for a problem. Divide the dollars by the pounds of potentially recoverable mercury. Seven million dollars divided by 100 pounds = $70,000/pound.
Now further divide the cost per pound by ounce: $70,000 divided by 16 = $4,375.
$4,375 is more than twice the price of gold.
While dredging, will the operator also keep other heavy metals, such as gold? This project seems like an extraordinary expense to address a questionable hazard.
Perhaps I miss other matters. Will the dredged gravel then be property of whom? What or who takes the devil mercury away for burial — in another place? Must the lake bed then be restored? To what?
JOHN MILLER, Newcastle