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The 450-acre Eureka Mills site is part of Utah’s historic Tintic Mining District, located in the East Tintic Mountains about 80 miles southwest of Salt Lake City in Juab County, Utah.
Eureka was founded in 1870, following discovery of a high-grade mineralized outcrop containing silver and lead as well as other minerals, including gold, copper and arsenic. The area was extensively mined until 1958. Large waste rock piles and associated waste material resulting from mining operations were left primarily on the south side of the valley, immediately adjacent to residences and businesses. Transport along rail lines, milling operations and use of mine waste for urban construction spread mine waste throughout the town.
The site includes the residential and commercial parts of Eureka and some adjoining areas outside of the city limits. The State of Utah discovered contamination at the site during an inspection in July 2000. Following cleanup, operation and maintenance activities are ongoing.
What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
The site is being addressed through federal, state and potentially responsible party (PRP) actions.
EPA has conducted five-year reviews at the site. These reviews ensure that the remedies put in place protect public health and the environment, and function as intended by site decision documents. The most recent review concluded that response actions at the site are in accordance with the remedy selected by EPA and that the remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment in the short-term. Continued protectiveness of the remedy at OU3 requires the establishment of easements. Additionally, operation and maintenance issues need to be addressed.
EPA placed the site on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) on September 5, 2002. With the completion of all response actions, the site was deleted from the NPL on September 25, 2018.
What Is the Current Site Status?
The site consists of five areas, referred to by EPA as operable units (OUs). OU0 is sitewide and includes residential areas. OU1 addresses May Day – Godiva Shaft and Tunnel. OU2 addresses Bullion Beck – Gemini Mine Waste Piles. OU3 addresses Central Eureka Mining Areas (Chief Consolidated Mining Company). OU4 addresses site groundwater, surface water and ecological risks within undeveloped areas of the site.
The site’s long-term remedy included grading and capping of mine waste piles, excavation of lead contaminated soils in residential areas with replacement of 18 inches of soil cover, implementation of institutional controls, and implementation of public health actions until the remedy is in place. Construction work for the remedial action for the mine waste piles and residential areas finished in 2010. Cleanup took place at about 700 residential and commercial properties. In September 2011, EPA determined that no further action was required for groundwater, surface water and ecological risk (OU4).
Cleanup has also included removal actions, or short-term cleanups, to address immediate threats to human health and the environment. EPA completed soil removal actions in 2001 and 2002 in response to high concentrations of lead and arsenic in soil and elevated blood-lead levels in children in Eureka.