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2:18 AM Tue, Sept. 25th

EPA to update Dewey-Humboldt residents on contaminated soil clean-up efforts

Residents of Dewey-Humboldt are invited to meet with officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31, at the Humboldt Elementary School.

The meeting will cover the upcoming limited residential yard removal of contaminated soil caused by the Iron King Mine and Humboldt Smelter Superfund Site.

Higher than normal levels of arsenic and/or lead from old mine tailings and runoff from the smelter over the years have wound up in some residents' yards.

In 2008-10, EPA officials sampled 185 privately-owned, residential parcels and the playground at Humboldt Elementary School, collecting 10 samples at each location. EPA provided each resident with results for their yard sampling data. About 100 yards had elevated levels of arsenic and/or lead, states the April 2011 EPA newsletter. EPA conducted follow-up sampling on additional yards in early March 2011.

"However, EPA believes that more data is required to identify which homes will be addressed during this removal action," states the April newsletter. The August newsletter reports that a subset of contaminated residential yards will benefit from cleanup efforts this fall.

EPA plans to temporarily seal fine-grained ash deposits at the Humboldt Smelter site and selected areas of the Iron King Mine tailings pile with a fixative agent.

Scientists from the University of Arizona will be available with information on several programs that relate to the Superfund site.

The Community Coalition of Dewey-Humboldt is using a $50,000 grant to hire an independent technical advisor, Wayne Fuller from Ninyo and Moore Geotechnical and Environmental Sciences Consultants out of California, to read technical reports and help the community understand the cleanup documents.

Rose Eitemiller, CEO of the Coalition, said Fuller hopes to have completed his review of the Remedial Investigation report and the Feasibility Study by the Aug. 31 meeting. Part of Fuller's job is to field questions, concerns and any input that the community may have regarding the Superfund site during the community meetings.

For more information on the coalition or the Technical Assistance Grant, contact Eitemiller at (928) 632-5586 or dhsmelter@gmail.com.