CERCLA (Superfund) Projects:
Kennecott Utah Copper LLC

Superfund Documents

Five Year Review

The United States Environmental Protection Agency Region VIII (EPA) and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ), are involved in a number of CERCLA actions at the Kennecott South and North Zones. Most recently the EPA and UDEQ announced the completion of the first Five Year Review of the response work and remedies, performed at and selected for Operable Units (OUs) 3, 6, 7, 17 and 18 of the Kennecott South Zone (a.k.a. Butterfield Creek Five Year Review). Also announced was the start-up of the second Five Year Review for OUs 1, 4, 5, 10, 11 and16 of the Kennecott South Zone (a.k.a. Bingham Creek Five Year Review). See the following links for more information.

Other Superfund Activities

Southwest Jordan Valley Groundwater Project

The project is designed to clean up ground water contaminated from historic mining activities in the Oquirrh mountains in southwest Salt Lake County. Over the next 40 years, extraction and treatment of groundwater from the contaminated zones will remove contaminants and provide municipal-quality drinking water to the public in the Affected Area. By removing contaminated water from the underlying aquifer, the project will also improve groundwater quality and prevent further migration of the contamination in the valley.

Withdrawal of the Kennecott South Zone Proposed Listing

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region VIII (US EPA) announce that in early September, 2008, the proposal to list the Kennecott South Zone Site on the National Priorities List (NPL) was withdrawn. The Site was originally proposed for listing on January 18, 1994.

In September 1995, the UDEQ, US EPA and Kennecott entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Pursuant to the terms of the MOU, Kennecott agreed to complete numerous cleanup projects for both the South Zone and the nearby Kennecott North Zone Site (not a subject of the current policy action). Upon Kennecott’s completion of the cleanup projects, the US EPA agreed to take no further action related to the final listing of the sites.

On July 2, 2008 (after construction completion of the numerous cleanup projects and the entry of the OU2 Consent Decree) the US EPA Region VIII issued, with concurrence from UDEQ, a request to US EPA Headquarters to withdraw the proposed listing of the South Zone Site. Notice within the Federal Register in early September signifies the South Zone’s withdrawal. All ongoing remedial activities will continue until final cleanup goals are attained.

Federal District Court of Utah Enters the Consent Decree for Operable Unit 2

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announce the CERCLA Consent Decree for Kennecott—Operable Unit 2 was entered today Wednesday, May 21, 2008. This culminates a negotiation effort over 4 years to complete this enforcement tool. During this process, Kennecott has and will continue to implement the selected remedy listed in the 2000 Record of Decision and clarified by subsequent ESDs.

The Consent Decree provides legal enforcement tools to the EPA and UDEQ to ensure the continued implementation of the selected remedy by Kennecott Utah Copper Corporation. The CERCLA Consent Decree was filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in federal court on July 9, 2007 and underwent a 30-day comment period ending August 18, 2007. The EPA and UDEQ evaluated comments to determine whether to either withdraw consent to the proposed Consent Decree or move the Court to sign and enter the proposed Consent Decree which took place today.

Agencies Motion to Enter the Consent Decree for Operable Unit 2

Today, April 17, 2008, DEQ and EPA have filed a Motion to the Court to have the Operable Unit 2 Consent Decree entered. As part of the Agencies decision, public comments submitted on the Consent Decree in August 2007, were considered. The Agencies have addressed the comments provided by the public, and these responses are included in the Declaration from EPA and the Memorandum of Support from the DOJ.

Provided below are the Motion to enter the Consent Decree and supporting documents:

A Press Release was issued on April 17, 2008, regarding the Agencies actions.

  • Court Asked to Approve Kennecott Cleanup Agreement: Press Release

For further information or questions, see our Contact Information.

CERCLA Consent Decree for Operable Unit 2

Today, July 09, 2007, DEQ, EPA, and Kennecott Utah Copper Corporation (Kennecott) announce the lodging of the CERCLA Consent Decree for Operable Unit 2. As noted previously, Operable Unit 2 is defined as the acid plume of Zone A, which is delineated by groundwater with a concentration of Sulphate greater than 1500 mgl.

Pursuant to the Consent Decree, Kennecott (with primary oversight by the State and EPA) will be required to continue implementing the following:

  • Operate and maintain source controls to keep further contamination from occurring.
  • Continue pumping out the groundwater acid plume in the amount of 1200 acre feet per year.
  • Operate a barrier well system to keep contamination from spreading.
  • Provide financial assurance in the amount of $15 million to insure continuation of the remedy work.
  • Pay $5 million as reimbursement of EPA response costs (including reimbursement for State funding paid by EPA).
  • Pay significant stipulated penalties if if Kennecott fails to perform its obligations under the Consent Decree.

The Consent Decree provides to DEQ and EPA enforcement tools to ensure compliance with or the provision of the items listed above.

“This agreement is the result of a partnership effort that culminates with a consent decree that allows EPA and the DEQ to ensure this remedy is implemented by Kennecott,” said DEQ Executive Director Rick Sprott.

The Consent Decree as lodged is provided below:

Comment Period for CERCLA Consent Decree for Operable Unit 2

The proposed Consent Decree is subject to a thirty day public comment period, after which EPA and UDEQ will evaluate the comments and determine whether to either withdraw consent to the proposed Consent Decree or move to the Court to sign and enter the proposed Consent Decree. The comment period initiated as of July 09, 2007.

The Department of Justice will receive comments relating to the proposed Consent Decree. Comments should be addressed to:

Department of Justice
Environmental Enforcement Section
P.O. Box 7611 Ben Franklin Station
Washington DC 20044-7611

Comments post marked as of midnight August 18, 2007, will be evaluated by the Agencies, the Department of Justice, and the State of Utah Attorney General’s Office.

Today, July 19, 2007, a notification was placed on the Federal Register acknowledging that the Consent Decree has been lodged with the Federal District Court.

The Consent Decree has been lodged with the Federal District Court of Utah and is available at the Court for review. The Consent Decree is also available for review on the Federal Register and on UDEQ’s project website. Questions concerning the Consent Decree can be directed to:

Legal Inquiries

Technical Inquiries

Second Explanation of Significant Difference and its Comment Response Summary

DEQ and EPA announce the completion of the second Explanation of Significant Difference and its Comment Response Summary:

A Record of Decision for the project was issued by EPA and DEQ in December 2000 under the Superfund Program authorities. It was modified by an ESD in August 2003. This ESD (June, 2007) further details the performance standards for the groundwater remedy. It also clarifies how water extracted at the barrier wells can be managed and provides for the use of State protection permits to oversee source control measures. The Comment Response Summary (July, 2007) documents formal responses to comments raised during the ESD’s public review period.

If you have questions, comments, or require more information, contact the UDEQ Project Manager, Douglas Bacon (801) 536-4282.