Remediation expected to be completed in 2023
Over twenty years after it was listed as a Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), cleanup is finally underway at the Jacobs Smelter Superfund site in Stockton. The project was made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funding.
Scientists from DEQ’s Division of Environmental Response and Remediation and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are working alongside Clean Harbors to remove arsenic and lead concentrations from the site. When the project is finished, over 70,000 tons of lead and arsenic contaminated soils will have been removed from the site and properly disposed of.
A human health risk assessment concluded that there is an unacceptable risk to both adults and children from the lead and arsenic contaminated soil. Children are the most vulnerable to poisoning due to their rapidly developing nervous systems.
“This day is long overdue,” Utah Department of Environmental Quality Executive Director Kim Shelley said. “The Jacob’s Smelter Superfund site, Waterman Smelter area, has been on the EPA Superfund National Priorities List since February 4, 2000.”
The Stockton area was the center of Utah’s silver and base metal mining, milling and smelting from the 1860s until 1970. Smelting furnaces were built in the area, operated for a short time, and then shut down. This mining activity left mill tailings and smelter waste, as well as soils contaminated with heavy metals.
“This cleanup will not only have a positive impact on the health of the community, but also the economic future of the community,” Shelley said. “In fact, the clean-up that has already occurred in Stockton has an estimated annual economic benefit of over $2.7 million.”
Excavation and backfilling are scheduled until December when remediation of the land will pause while the ground is frozen. In the spring, Clean Harbors will remobilize to place topsoil, revegetate with native seed, and irrigate the newly planted vegetation.
Cleanup at the site is expected to be finished in September 2023. Once the work is complete, it will be safe for recreational use, and available for further remediation and development.