The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are conducting an investigation of arsenic contaminated soil sediments associated with the former Bingham-Magna Ditch, a historic mining drainage canal located in western Salt Lake County. This Website will serve as an information repository for developments concerning this project. The public is encouraged to stay informed by periodically re-visiting this Website.
Addressing Potential Risks
UDEQ and EPA are working with Kennecott Utah Copper Corporation to develop a comprehensive site characterization plan so agencies can begin an evaluation of the risk posed by soils associated with the Bingham-Magna Ditch. The former canal is 17-miles in length, approximately 15-feet wide and is buried two-to-four feet beneath the ground. The only potential risks to human health and the environment are areas where the Bingham-Magna Ditch may have become uncovered, primarily through construction development where direct contact with arsenic soils may occur.
Recent sampling indicates a thin layer of soil lining the bottom of the canal containing elevated concentrations of arsenic. The concentrations of arsenic exceed EPA and UDEQ residential standards. Until the Bingham-Magna Ditch soils are fully evaluated it is recommended that residents keep children and pets away from any exposed orange-colored dirt. Ingestion or swallowing arsenic-contaminated soils is the most likely exposure route that may cause detrimental effects to health, including gastrointestinal irritation. Long term exposure through ingestion may increase cancer risk.
Arsenic is a naturally occurring element in the Earth’s crust and is primarily produced as a byproduct of copper and lead smelting operations.
Requesting Access to Sample Yards
Neighborhoods located along the 17-mile Bingham-Magna Ditch will be targeted for sampling in a phased approach. Every home within the alignment of the ditch will be offered sampling. Soil sampling will be conducted initially for highly populated areas and new construction developments as immediate areas of concern. UDEQ and EPA will be requesting access to property owners within areas of impact to sample soils. This sampling will be at no cost to you. Kennecott Utah Copper has offered to assist with the cleanup of impacted soil.
The canal was used by the Utah Copper Corporation (a predecessor of Kennecott Utah Copper Corporation) to transport waste water from the Bingham Mine to mining mills in Magna during the 1930’s. The canal was abandoned and filled with top soil by 1940. The historic ditch originated west of Copperton, ran east to about 7000 West, then north through what are now West Jordan, West Valley, Kearns and Magna. It ended at the Utah and Salt Lake Canal northwest of Magna.
Periodically UDEQ and EPA will host meetings to exchange information with the public. Please refer to this Website for upcoming sessions.
Since investigation of the ditch corridor was initiated, 95% of the properties within the center line of the Ditch have been characterized. Kennecott with UDEQ and EPA oversight has delivered to individual property owners reports on the characterization effort. Concurrent to the characterization effort, Kennecott has also performed a removal of Ditch sediments with elevated concentrations of arsenic on agricultural and open-space properties where access has been granted.
Kennecott has drafted a newsletter which has been mailed out to property owners and is linked below. Kennecott has also produced the following maps which document the Ditch’s alignment based upon the recent characterization efforts. These maps document the ditches alignment within developed portions of West jordan, Kearns, and West Valley.
- Bingham-Magna Ditch Update Newsletter: December 2007
- Map #1: 7000 South to Discovery Drive
- Map #2: Early Dawn Drive
- Map #3: Trowbridge Way to 5930 South
- Map #4: Sunkist Dr. to Planbago Avenue
- Map #5: Cape Ridge Lane to City Vistas Way
- Map #6: Oak Farms Drive
Maps and Figures
- Map of Bingham-Magna Ditch Alignment
- Map of Bingham-Magna Ditch Alignment in West Jordan
- Map of Bingham-Magna Ditch Alignment in West Valley 7000-6200 South
- Map of Bingham-Magna Ditch Alignment in West Valley 6200-5400 South
- Map of Bingham-Magna Ditch Alignment in West Valley 5400-4700 South
- Bingham-Magna Ditch Typical Cross Section
If you have questions please contact:
- Douglas Bacon, UDEQ Project Manager: (801) 536-4282
- Rebecca Thomas, EPA Project Manager: (800) 227-8917 x 6552