DEWEY-HUMBOLDT - Environmental Protection Agency officials have wrapped up an interim project to clean up some of the toxic metals from the Iron King Mine and Humboldt Smelter Superfund site in Humboldt.
Coincidentally, the EPA finished the work on the same day Tuesday that University of Arizona researchers announced they would study the Superfund's health effects on residents (see related story).
"It went remarkably well," EPA on-scene coordinator Craig Benson said of the cleanup project, which started Aug. 29.
The goal was to clean up some of the worst sites in residential areas while the EPA works on a broader clean-up plan.
The EPA removed as much as 2 feet of topsoil from a dozen yards on Sweet Pea Lane and East Main Street, where levels of arsenic and lead were the worst around homes.
Workers hauled about 7,200 tons of soil to the defunct Iron King Mine site and placed it on top of a 2.5-acre section of the largest tailings pile. They then put native seeds into the soil to help stabilize the tailings.
The EPA removed a 12,000-20,000-cubic-yard tailings pile from private land about 300 yards from the Iron King Mine and hauled it to the mine.
And the EPA applied soil fixative to ash piles at the defunct Humboldt Smelter site on the other side of Highway 69 to help reduce dust.
The EPA provided money to the town to fix a portion of Third Street damaged by heavy equipment working on the project.