DERR’s Superfund (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) Branch performs site assessments of potentially contaminated sites to determine whether or not they pose a threat to human health and the environment and require further action, including possible placement on the Federal Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). The Branch also manages or performs oversight of investigation and remediation activities at Superfund sites, including NPL sites and federal facility sites.
The Sharon Steel Operable Unit 1 (OU1) Site was a milling facility that processed ore and produced lead, copper, zinc, and other metals from 1906 to 1971. (Operable units are a subsection of a larger Superfund site). Contaminated tailings from the milling facility were deposited adjacent to and below the historic mill. In 1982, DEQ became involved at the site when it learned that nearby residents were gathering tailings for use in gardens and children’s sandboxes. DEQ tested residents’ gardens and sandboxes and found high levels of lead.
The long-term remedy for OU1 included excavation and relocation of tailings, removal of the surface soil in the mill building area and replacement with clean soil, dredging of contaminated wetland sediments, capping the tailings pile, and groundwater monitoring.
The capped tailings are approximately 270 acres and are surrounded by commercial and residential areas to the north and east, and open space and agricultural land to the south and west. Following completion of the remedy for the contamination, EPA determined that the site was ready for residential and mixed use.
On October 22, 2018, DEQ, EPA, Midvale City, and other stakeholders held a ceremony to announce and celebrate the transformation of the former NPL Site into Phase 2 of a mixed-use development known as View 72, located in the Jordan Bluffs Redevelopment area. Midvale anticipates that redevelopment of the site will result in the construction of apartments and townhomes and more than one million square feet of office space centered around a mile long park running parallel to the Jordan River.
“We see the opportunity for a great amenity, a vibrant place, a place where people will live, work, and recreate.”
–Alan Matheson, executive director of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) speaking at the October 2018 celebration of Phase 2, View 72, Jordan Bluffs
700 South 1600 East PCE Plume Site
The 700 South 1600 East PCE Plume was detected during routine sampling of the Mount Olivet irrigation well. The suspected source of the tetrachloroethylene (PCE) contamination is historic dry-cleaning operations at the nearby Veterans Affairs Medical Hospital.
The Veterans Administration (VA) Remedial Team, as part of its Phase 1 field work, conducted indoor air vapor testing, outdoor air testing, and near-slab soil-gas sampling at 36 residences in the area between January and April of 2015. None of the samples were above the removal action level, but they did confirm the contamination and helped define the areas most impacted.
Phase 2 field work began in February 2016, with the VA conducting the same testing at additional homes. One home showed PCE above the removal action level, and the VA worked with the property owner to install a vapor mitigation system. Groundwater samples were collected from 42 temporary locations; 10 of these locations still serve as temporary monitoring locations. In May 2016, VA contractors collected surface water and stormwater samples throughout the area. These data will be used to write a Remedial Investigation (RI) Report to evaluate the potential risk to human health and the environment from contaminated groundwater.
Site sampling continued with the next phase of indoor air sampling conducted from March through April of 2017. In coordination with DEQ, EPA, and Salt Lake City, VA contractors collected indoor air samples at seven additional homes in the area. A portable gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer was used in these homes to sample the indoor air and soil gas for the presence of PCE. In addition, the VA conducted confirmatory sampling from 13 homes sampled during the 2015 field season. These locations were chosen because of groundwater results collected in 2016. The confirmatory sampling utilized 24-hour collection canisters and certified laboratory analysis. Since the VA began testing houses in 2015, totaling approximately 60 structures, only one home had detections of enough PCE to warrant action; however, as a precautionary measure, the VA offered air-purifying units to homeowners whose tests exceeded the screening level while VA monitored the site and crafted a permanent plan for PCE removal.
During 2017, VA completed indoor air, groundwater, surface water and soil sampling in Accelerated Operable Unit 1 and prepared a draft Remedial Investigation (RI) Report to address contamination at the site. In Summer 2018, VA installed shallow and deep monitoring wells. The well installations will be used to help trace the PCE plume to the source, define the dimensions and extent of the plume, and support the development of remedial methods. EPA and DEQ are assisting the VA in finalizing the RI Report.
The VA has developed a Community Involvement Plan (CIP) to facilitate communication between the VA and community members. Public involvement activities under the CIP include informational meetings, community council briefings, and opportunities for stakeholder involvement in the study and remediation process. DEQ, EPA, and the VA coordinate community involvement to ensure that residents are continuously updated and informed of cleanup plans and activities.
Five Points PCE Plume
The Five Points PCE Plume, located in Woods Cross, North Salt Lake, and Bountiful, is a groundwater plume of tetrachloroethylene (PCE) that likely originated at a dry-cleaning facility in Bountiful from a leaking sewer pipe. PCE was first detected above the maximum contaminant level in a Woods Cross City drinking-water well in 1996. Woods Cross City completed construction of a drinking-water treatment plant in 2015 to clean contaminated water found in three city wells.
The EPA, with DEQ concurrence, issued a Record of Decision in August 2016 to extract, contain, and treat groundwater. The selected remedy includes:
- Installation of a system to extract PCE-contaminated groundwater at the plume core and toe (lower end)
- Hydraulic containment of contaminated groundwater at the plume core and toe
- Treatment of the extracted groundwater and discharge to an off-site wastewater treatment plant
- Restoration of the groundwater as a drinking-water source
- Implementation of institutional controls (ICs) that discourage drilling and installation of new wells until remedial actions and cleanup goals have been achieved
The Five Points PCE plume is currently in the remedial design phase. During remedial design (RD), technical specifications for cleanup remedies and technologies are determined. After the design is completed, funding is required to build the design. All Superfund-financed remedies are reviewed by EPA’s National Risk-Based Priority Panel. Sampling at the Five Points PCE Plume site is currently being performed to assist in the RD.
Currently, the site has been funded for Remedial Action (RA), which follows the remedial design phase and involves the actual construction or implementation phase of Superfund site remedy to achieve cleanup. The RD/RA is based on the specifications described in the Record of Decision (ROD).
The Jacobs Smelter site is located within Rush Valley, Tooele County, near the town of Stockton, Utah. The smelting and mining activity at the site occurred primarily in the 1860s and 1870s, leaving behind heavy-metal contamination of the soils, mill tailings, and smelter wastes. Lead and arsenic contamination at the site is present at concentrations that pose a significant risk to human health and the environment.
DEQ and EPA conducted a public meeting for the community in October 2015 to present the proposed cleanup plan for Operable Unit 2 (OU2) of the site, an 85-acre area affected by the former Waterman Smelter. Both agencies recommended excavation and disposal of contaminated soil as the preferred alternative for addressing lead and arsenic contamination on residential and undeveloped lands within OU2.
The Record of Decision (ROD) for the contaminated area was issued in September 2016. The ROD requires excavation and offsite disposal of soils that exceed lead and arsenic cleanup levels designated for residential, commercial, and undeveloped areas (up to a maximum depth of 18 inches), followed by the replacement of excavated soil with clean topsoil and revegetation of excavated areas. Institutional controls (ICs) will be put in place to ensure that the remediation continues to be protective of human health and the environment.
The Jacobs Smelter site is currently in the remedial design phase. During remedial design (RD), technical specifications for cleanup remedies and technologies are determined. After the design is completed, funding is required to implement the design, and all Superfund-financed remedies are reviewed by EPA’s National Risk-Based Priority Panel. Some sampling is involved during RD. Sampling at the smelter site occurred in November 2017.
When the site is funded, Remedial Action (RA) follows the remedial design phase and involves the actual construction or implementation phase of Superfund site remedy to achieve cleanup. The RD/RA is based on the specifications described in the ROD. Remedial Action is expected to be completed by 2020 but are dependent on continued federal funding.
Winchester Hills Impact Area MRS, Target Area MRS, and Water Tank Hillside MRS
DERR has been providing regulatory oversight of the investigation and remediation of three Munition Response Sites at Winchester Hills, a former military training ground in St. George, Utah. The site was used briefly in the 1950s by Utah soldiers to improve their competency with howitzers, bazookas, hand grenades, and small arms. This training, however, left the land with a considerable number of potential environmental hazards.
The recent growth in Utah’s Dixie resulted in encroachment of residential properties on these former training grounds, which are located on a mix of Bureau of Land Management (BLM), School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), and privately owned land.
Working hand-in-hand with the Army and Utah Army National Guard, DERR signed a No Further Action Record of Decision (ROD) for the Winchester Hills Impact Area MRS after a site investigation and remedial investigation determined there was no risk from munitions at the site. DERR also collaborated with the Army Corps of Engineers and Utah Army National Guard to complete the RODs for the Winchester Hills Target Area and Water Tank Hillside MRSs. These RODs document selected remedial action alternatives that address risks from potential munitions of explosive concern. During this process, DERR pushed for more stringent remediation standards to allow for unlimited use/unlimited exposure so the land can be safely used for residential or recreational use in the future. Work on the remaining MRSs is planned to begin in January 2019.
DERR Lead Agency on Five-Year Reviews
Five-Year Reviews (FYRs) are typically required by CERCLA when hazardous substances remain on site above levels that allow for unrestricted use and unlimited exposure. The Five-Year Review process provides DERR with an opportunity to evaluate how well the selected remedy is performing and determine whether the remedy remains protective of human health and the environment.
Typically, an FYR occurs five years following the start of a CERCLA response action and reoccurs every five years as long as uses at a site remain restricted. FYRs can be performed by EPA or the lead agency (state) for a site; however, EPA retains the responsibility for determining the protectiveness of the remedy. DERR prefers, when possible, to perform FYRs for the sites in Utah because Division staff are extremely knowledgeable about the sites DERR manages.
Intermountain Waste Oil Refinery
- Operable Unit 1 (OU1) addressed soils, subsurface soils, and potential onsite contaminant sources including tanks, drums, and containers.
- Operable Unit 2 (OU2) addressed contaminants found in the groundwater, mainly trichloroethylene (TCE), that are above drinking water standards and the risk-based levels of concern.
The remedy completed at OU1 included the removal of potential onsite contaminant sources, and land-use controls requiring buildings constructed at the site to have a vapor-mitigation system and that soils excavated during construction activities will be managed appropriately. The remedy completed at OU2 included the extraction and treatment of contaminated groundwater and land-use controls restricting the use of groundwater at the site.
In August 2018, DERR completed the third Five-Year Review (FYR) for the Intermountain Waste Oil Refinery Site to determine if the remedy continued to be protective of human health and the environment. DERR reviewed historical documentation, reviewed land-use changes since the last FYR, completed a site visit, performed groundwater monitoring and sampling, and conducted interviews with community members and local government officials. The review found that the site remedy remains protective of human health and the environment.
The review also recommended that groundwater monitoring and sampling may be completed in conjunction with the next FYR and that EPA and DEQ proceed with site-closure activities.
Success Story: Eureka Mills Delisted from Superfund
The 450-acre Eureka Mills site, part of Utah’s historic Tintic Mining District, is located in the East Tintic Mountains about 80 miles southwest of Salt Lake City in Juab County, Utah.
Eureka was founded in 1870, following the 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 consists of five operable units (OUs). OU0 is site-wide 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 the replacement of 18 inches of soil cover, implementation of institutional controls, and implementation of public health actions until the remedy was in place. Construction work during the remedial action for the mine waste piles and residential areas was completed in 2010. Cleanup took place at about 700 residential and commercial properties.
DERR conducts Five Year Reviews at the site to ensure that the remedies put in place continue to protect public health and the environment and function as intended by site-decision documents. The most recent review was completed in July 2018 and concluded that response actions at the site are in accordance with the remedy selected by EPA and the remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment.
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.
Success Story: Davenport and Flagstaff Smelters Delisted from Superfund
Historically located in a residential area at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon, the Davenport and Flagstaff Smelters were constructed around 1870 to process lead and silver ores. The site consists of three Operable Units (OUs):
- Operable Unit One (OU1) addressed contamination on residential properties and was completed in 2008.
- Operable Unit Two (OU2) addressed smelter contamination within commercial and undeveloped areas and was completed in 2012.
- Operable Unit Three (OU3) addressed smelter contamination on agricultural land developed for residential properties and was completed in 2006.
Contamination at the site was associated with slag and other smelter waste from historical smelting operations at the site. The Contaminants of Concern are lead and arsenic, and the remedy for each OU consisted of excavation, soil treatment, and off-site disposal of contaminated soil. In addition, since contaminated soil remains at the site above unrestricted use levels, institutional controls were implemented at the site to prevent certain land uses and control how soil is managed at the site.
In July 2018, the Davenport and Flagstaff Smelter site was deleted from the National Priorities List (NPL). EPA and DERR determined that all of the appropriate response actions under CERCLA, other than operation and maintenance and Five-Year Reviews, have been completed.