Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

INTERNATIONAL SMELTING AND REFINING
TOOELE, UT

Cleanup Activities

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Background

The International Smelting and Refining (IS&R) site is located about two miles northeast of Tooele, Utah, on the west flank of the Oquirrh Mountains near the mouth of Pine Canyon. The site consists of the Pine Canyon Conservation Area, the Pine Canyon/Lincoln Township Area and the Tooele Valley Railroad. From 1910 until 1972, copper, lead and zinc smelting and refining activities caused contamination at the smelter property and adjacent lands. Site investigations found heavy metal contamination in soils, tailings and slag. Following cleanup, EPA took the site off the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) in October 2011.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

The site is being addressed through federal, state and potentially responsible party (PRP) actions.

In 2005, the PRP conducted a soil removal action at the Tooele Valley Railroad. Up to 18 inches of contaminated soil were excavated from locations in town, near a school, in recreation areas and at two residential properties. Areas where soil was not removed were capped with a soil or rock protective cover.

In 2006, the PRP completed a soil removal action at the Pine Canyon Conservation Area. The action included placement of a 12-inch-thick soil cover over multiple areas of contaminated soil. Fencing and other physical barriers were constructed to restrict access at two locations where physical hazards prevented access and remediation.

This removal action also addressed other areas where surface soils were stained and vegetation was limited or absent in specific locations in the conservation area. Although lead and arsenic concentrations were below health-based cleanup levels, the PRP removed the top 24 inches of soil, backfilled with clean soil and revegetated these areas. In addition, the PRP modified and repaired some stormwater controls. Old foundations and vaults that had subsided since earlier reclamation work were backfilled, covered with clean soil and revegetated.

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 found that the remedy currently protects human health and the environment. Exposure pathways that could result in unacceptable risks are being controlled through institutional and access controls. For the remedy to be protective over the long term, the requirements of the Pine Canyon Overlay Zone need to be further clarified and all decisions made regarding development actions in the overlay zone need to be formally recorded.

EPA placed the site on the NPL in July 2000. Following construction of the site’s remedy, EPA
took the site off the NPL in October 2011.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

The site’s long-term remedy, selected in 2007, included removing or capping contaminated soils, adding fencing to restrict access, ongoing groundwater monitoring to assess contaminant levels, and implementing a conservation easement, environmental covenants and a land use ordinance to limit future human contact with contaminated media. Because all required response actions were completed by the potentially responsible party (PRP) prior to EPA’s final selection of a remedy, the 2007 Record of Decision addressed remaining requirements: institutional controls, monitoring and maintenance. Following cleanup, operation and maintenance activities and groundwater monitoring are ongoing.

Site cleanup has also included removal actions, or short-term cleanups, to address immediate threats to human health and the environment. In 2004 and 2005, 76 properties were sampled and 9,100 cubic yards of contaminated soils excavated from 17 properties in the Pine Canyon Area. The excavated material was transported to the tailings repository, located within the reclaimed tailings pond area on the smelter property. After excavation, each property was backfilled and landscaped or restored similar to the pre-construction condition.

The area surrounding and including the site was designated the "Carr Fork Reclamation and Wildlife Management Area" in 1994. The former smelter area is owned by the PRP, ARCO, and is now called the Pine Canyon Conservation Area. The conservation area is managed by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

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