On this page:
- What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
- What Is the Current Site Status?
- Activity and Use Limitations
On related pages:
The Jacobs Smelter site is located in the Rush Valley, Tooele County, Utah near the town of Stockton and about five miles south of Tooele, Utah. The site covers about eight square miles and includes the town of Stockton. The risks posed by the site derive from smelting and mining activity, which occurred primarily in the 1860s and 1870s. Wastes in the form of heavy metal contaminated soil, mill tailings, and smelter wastes exist at several locations within the site boundaries. The primary contaminants are lead and arsenic.
Cleanup is complete for several areas of the site. Investigation and evaluation of cleanup options in the remaining areas is ongoing.
What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ) has been the lead agency for most of the work completed at the Jacobs Smelter Superfund site. UDEQ works in partnership with EPA to address unacceptable risk to human health and the environment at this site.
Residential properties within the 1999 town of Stockton boundaries were addressed through EPA removal and UDEQ remedial actions and have been deleted from the NPL. Stockton Ordinance #2000-4 was established to assure that any contamination remaining below 18 inches is managed safely if it is excavated. The town of Stockton has also constructed a repository to accept contaminated material excavated during construction activities.
The developer and EPA have completed removals at properties in the Rawhide Ranchettes subdivision that had contamination above action levels. The contaminated material removed during the developer’s work was placed within the roadbed or in a covered repository located within the subdivision that remains deeded to the developer. The contaminated soil removed during EPA’s 2010 work was taken to an off-site landfill.
Signs have been placed in the Waterman Smelter area warning trespassers, including potential all-terrain vehicle (ATV) users, of the potential health hazardous associated with the area. EPA and UDEQ are currently in the remedial design and construction phase for the remaining areas around Waterman Smelter needing cleanup. Cleanup is anticipated by 2020 if funding is received.
The Union Pacific Railroad has completed cleanup along the rail line in the town of Stockton. This area has also been deleted from the NPL.
Under oversight by EPA and UDEQ, Kennecott Utah Copper LLC (KUCC), now Rio Tinto Kennecott, completed a cleanup of land adjacent to the Rawhide Ranchettes subdivision. An environmental covenant, which runs with the property, was recorded with the Tooele County recorder’s office. The environmental covenant outlines what must be done for the remedy to remain protective if there is a land use change.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has completed a cleanup for the property they own near the historic Waterman Smelter.
In September 2015, EPA completed the third five-year review for this site. The reviews, that are conducted every five years, determine whether completed remedies are still protective of human health and the environment, and whether the remedies are functioning as intended.
The most recent review concluded that the remedies for OU1, OU3 and OU4 continue to be protective of human health and the environment. The review also concluded that the remedy for the Rawhide Ranchettes subdivision (part of OU2) is protective of human health and the environment. Additionally, the work conducted by BLM near the Waterman Smelter (part of OU5) is protective of human health and the environment.
What Is the Current Site Status?
The site consists of six areas, referred to as operable units (OUs). Cleanup is complete at OU1, OU3 and OU4. Cleanup is complete at portions of OU2 and OU5. Further investigation and risk determination is needed at OU6 prior to developing a cleanup proposal.
OU1, residential properties in Stockton: Cleanup completed and remains protective of human health the environment.
EPA initiated a time-critical removal action in March 1999 to clean up 29 of the most contaminated residential properties in the town of Stockton. EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for OU1 on July 29, 1999. In 2000, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ) cleaned up an additional 126 residential properties pursuant to the 1999 ROD.
Contaminated soil from individual properties, unpaved streets and sidewalks within Stockton were removed. The work addressed contamination above 500 parts per million (ppm) lead on the surface and 800 ppm lead in the subsurface to a maximum of 18 inches below the ground surface. The excavated soil on each lot was replaced backfill and topsoil. Sod, plants, trees, sprinkler systems and fences that were removed in order to perform the cleanup were then restored.
The town of Stockton passed ordinance #2000-4 covering excavation and development within the town in May of 2000. The ordinance requires permit applications for all construction work that requires excavation below 18 inches. This ensures excavated material is tested and handled according to appropriate state and federal regulations. In 2010, the town of Stockton received a permit for, and constructed, a repository to accept contaminated material excavated during construction activities.
The residential properties cleaned up during the removal and the remedial actions for OU1 were deleted from the National Priorities List (NPL) in 2001.
OU2, soil contamination outside of the town of Stockton’s 1999 boundaries (attributable to the Waterman Smelter operations): Cleanup is partially completed; EPA and UDEQ are currently in the remedial design and construction phase to complete cleanup in the remaining portions of OU2.
Remedial investigations for OU2 began in 1999. In 2001, EPA required the developer of the Rawhide Ranchettes subdivision to remove contaminated soils with lead concentrations above action levels (500 mg/kg lead surface; and 800 mg/kg lead sub-surface) from five undeveloped lots. The removal action finished in 2001. Additional sampling in 2009 and 2010 resulted in a follow-up removal action by EPA in 2010-2011 which removed contaminated soil from four residences in the subdivision.
A proposed plan covering other areas in OU2 that have contamination above action levels was issued September 21, 2015. It addressed contamination on portions of several B&B Subdivision lots and the undeveloped land around the historic Waterman Smelter. A ROD documenting the cleanup decision was issued in September 2016.
OU3, Stockton Rail Yard: Completed and remains protective of human health and the environment.
In 1999, the Union Pacific Railroad (UPPR), under agreement with EPA, addressed the contamination on OU3 by placing a 16-inch soil cover over the contaminated soils in the railroad right-of-way through Stockton. OU3 was deleted from the NPL on November 29, 2005.
OU4, parcel of land that lies between the Rawhide Ranchettes subdivision and OU3: The parcel is owned by Rio Tinto Kennecott Copper (formerly Kennecott Utah Copper LLC, KUCC). It was cleaned up in July 2008 and remains protective of human health and the environment.
KUCC conducted a removal action under oversight of UDEQ and EPA in the fall of 2008. Soil with lead concentrations greater than 500 mg/kg was removed except where the contaminated soil was located underneath a large gravel hill near the railroad bed and could not be accessed without impacting the railroad. An environmental covenant addressing this contamination was established and recorded with the Tooele County recorder. The environmental covenant describes the additional sampling and cleanup work that is needed if the land use changes. It is anticipated that OU4 will be proposed for deletion in the near future.
OU5, land owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and located northeast of Stockton and near the Waterman Smelter area: Cleanup partially completed.
In 2011, the BLM conducted a cleanup on the portion of their property that is north of the Waterman Smelter area.
OU6, contamination associated with the Chicago and Carson Buzzo Smelters south of the town of Stockton: Future further investigation and potential cleanup is needed.
Originally included in OU2, this area was separated from OU2 in 2014 and established as OU6 due to differences in land use and potential exposure pathways. The area is mainly used for agricultural purposes and represents a different exposure scenario than other OUs of the site.
Activity and Use Limitations
At this site, activity and use limitations that EPA calls institutional controls are in place. Institutional controls play an important role in site remedies because they reduce exposure to contamination by limiting land or resource use. They also guide human behavior. For instance, zoning restrictions prevent land uses – such as residential uses – that are not consistent with the level of cleanup.
For more background, see Institutional Controls.
An environmental covenant that describes what additional sampling and cleanup work is needed on the contaminated material remaining at OU4 has been placed upon the property and been recorded with the Tooele County recorder’s office.
The town of Stockton Ordinance #2000-4 requires permit applications for all construction work that requires excavation below 18 inches, to ensure excavated material is tested and handled according to appropriate state and federal regulations.