[PLEASE NOTE: The information presented below is offered for educational purposes only. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.]
Utah Superfund Site: Midvale Slag
This site is not a Federal Facility.
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The Midvale Slag site, a former smelting facility, covers 446 acres in Midvale. A small portion of the site extends into the city of Murray. The site contains slag and hazardous smelting wastes, posing a threat to human health and the environment. It was added to the Superfund National Priorities List in 1991. It is next to Sharon Steel, another Superfund site that has been cleaned up, which contained former ore-milling facilities. Local, state and federal agencies, property owners and community members are cooperating to address the remaining Midvale Slag contamination.
Smelting operations began in the vicinity of the site in 1871. Since then, five separate smelters have been located on or near the site. The smelters treated ores from Bingham Canyon and other mines.
Studies begun in 1984 found that ground water and soil are contaminated with heavy metals. [Today there are 2.5 million tons of slag containing lead, arsenic, chromium, and cadmium, along with other smelting wastes.] The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ), together with Midvale City government, are working to develop a plan for cleaning up and redeveloping the site in cooperation with concerned community members and property owners. Potential human health threats include drinking contaminated shallow ground water, or swallowing, inhaling or handling contaminated soil and wastes.
The site is divided into two study areas called "operable units," known as OU1 and OU2. It is being cleaned up in two stages: immediate actions and a long-term remedial phase.
In 1990, EPA initiated cleanup actions to address immediate threats at the site. Chemicals found in an abandoned assay lab were removed, and some 20 pounds of explosives were detonated. Also, the site was fenced to prevent public access. In 1996, contaminated soil was excavated from the Butterfield Lumber portion of OU2 and from the small, unmarked Pioneer Cemetery.
Cleanup of the northern OU1 portion of the site is complete. The 266 acres comprising OU1 were contaminated by migration of the wastes created from smelting and refining activities on OU2. While most of OU1 is vacant land, the northwestern portion contains Winchester Estates, a residential mobile home development. Lead and arsenic contaminated soils in residential yards were removed and replaced with clean soil.
OU2 includes the southern portion of the site consisting of about 180 acres. It contains the old smelter facilities and a variety of waste byproducts. The most contaminated material, mixed smelter waste (MSW), contain approximately 500,000 cubic yards of various wastes, ranging from old building materials to highly contaminated chemical wastes. Several large slag piles are also present. Contaminated ground water is present in some areas beneath the site. EPA is completing the remedial investigation / feasibility study (RI/FS). The RI is a study to better understand the kind and degree of contamination that exists at the site. In the FS, EPA evaluates cleanup options for the contamination, based on the results of the RI and other studies, and will request public comment before making a decision.
In the fall of 1999, EPA awarded an EPA Pilot Redevelopment Grant to Midvale City. The Pilot Grant is part of EPA's nationwide effort to move Superfund sites back into economic usefulness. The City used its grant for master planning of the Midvale Slag Superfund site. Midvale City Council adopted the Bingham Junction Reuse Plan in August 2001.
A concerned group, Citizens For a Safe Future For Midvale, has received a Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) from EPA to hire a technical advisor to study and inform the community about issues related to site cleanup. In 1999, the TAG group hired an advisor to review issues relating to site redevelopment. Monthly TAG group meetings are open to the public.
Occasionally, EPA and the State hold a community forum to provide timely updates of cleanup activities to elected officials and interested citizens.
In the summer of 2002, EPA took public comments on the Proposed Plan, for cleanup of the site. On October 29, 2002, EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) which tells how the site will be cleaned up.
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