Region 8

Eureka Mills

Eureka Mills site location map Site Type: Final NPL
City: Eureka
County: Juab
Street Address: Entire city
ZIP Code: 84628
EPA ID: UT00022401
SSID: 08CF
Site Aliases: Eureka Hill Mill, Bullion Beck & Campion Mill, Bullion Beck Mill
Congressional District: 1

What's New?

Updated June 2014

Second Five-Year Review Completed

The second five-year review of the remedy at the Eureka Mills site was completed in September 2013 in coordination with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. EPA conducts five-year reviews following the start of a Superfund cleanup when contamination is left on the site. These reviews are repeated every five years to determine how the remedy is working and if the remedy remains protective of human health and the environment.

The second five-year review concluded that the remedy is protective of human health and the environment. However, the remedy at Operable Unit 3 (Central Eureka Mining Areas) will require the establishment of easements in order to be protective in the long term. See Five-Year Reviews below for more information and Site Documents to view the full report.


Site Description

The Eureka Mills Superfund Site is located in the East Tintic Mountains approximately 80 miles southwest of Salt Lake City in Juab County, Utah. The city of Eureka is part of Utah's historic Tintic Mining District. Eureka was founded in 1870 upon 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. Although the Tintic mining district produced 2,648,000 ounces of gold, Eureka has since suffered an economic decline as the result of the boom and bust cycles inherent in the mining industry.

Large waste rock piles and associated waste material resulting from mining operations are located primarily on the south side of the valley immediately adjacent to residences and businesses. Mine waste was distributed around Eureka by mining activities, such as transport along rail lines and milling operations. Some of the mine waste material was used for urban construction in Eureka. Wind and water erosion also spread mine wastes within the city.

The city of Eureka was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in March 1979. Today, there are numerous examples of a once prosperous mining district such as old mining structures, massive wood head frames, and the ruins of mills and buildings. This community of 800 people is proud of its mining history and wishes to preserve the artifacts and legends of the past.

panorama photo of Eureka in 1920

panorama photo of Eureka in 2008

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Site Risk

Human Health Risk

Site risk to humans is currently low because EPA completed cleanup of lead and other metals at Eureka properties in 2010. A Baseline Human Health Risk Assessment was conducted in 2001 to identify the nature and magnitude of risks posed by mining-related waste to Eureka residents. While several metals were determined to be contaminants of concern, lead was the primary contaminant based on current and future health risks. Modeling results indicated that 100 percent of all properties had lead levels above EPA's health-based goal and predicted a 69-percent incidence of children with elevated lead levels greater than 10 µg/dL.

Between 2000 and 2008, blood sampling identified approximately 50 children with elevated blood-lead levels. Public health actions included information programs, periodic blood-lead testing of children, and a program for evaluating sources of indoor lead exposure.

Recent blood test results indicate that the lead levels in Eureka children have dropped considerably. The decline in lead levels has been so successful that, in the spring of 2008, EPA and the Utah Department of Health agreed to reduce the frequency of blood testing for lead from quarterly to an annual test at the end of the summer.

Media Affected Contaminants Source of Contamination
soil lead, arsenic mining and milling wastes

EPA studies have not identified human health risks for groundwater and surface water because levels of lead and arsenic are below standards. EPA determined that no response action was necessary for either pathway.

Ecological Risk

EPA’s Baseline Ecological Risk Assessment concluded that while there is some risk to individual small and medium home range birds from lead contaminated soils, there is no unacceptable risk to the population. However, EPA chose to develop and consider alternatives that might lower the risk to American Robins and similar species. Based on the Feasibility Study and public comments, EPA decided to take no further action. This is because the harm of disrupting the habitat being used by many other animals outweighs the benefit that would be gained for the small population of birds.

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Cleanup Progress

UDEQ and EPA began investigating impacts of historic mining activities to the environment and residential areas of Eureka in 2000. High concentrations of lead and arsenic in soil, combined with elevated blood-lead levels in children in Eureka led to time-critical soil removal actions in 2001 and 2002. Based on the findings of the site investigation in 2000, the site was placed on the National Priorities List (NPL) in September 2002.

In 2002, EPA completed studies and published a Record of Decision focused on site soils, which were found to pose an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health. Site areas requiring remediation were divided into four operable units (OUs) with lead as the primary contaminant of concern:

  • OU0: Site-wide, including residential areas
  • OU1: May Day – Godiva Shaft and Tunnel
  • OU2: Bullion Beck – Gemini Mine Waste Piles
  • OU3: Central Eureka Mining Areas (Chief Consolidated Mining Company)
  • OU4: site groundwater, site surface water and ecological risks within undeveloped areas of the site

Remedial design for OUs 0–3 was completed in 2003. Remedial action (RA) was initiated in August 2003 and completed in October 2010. Components of the RA included:

  • Cleanup of approximately 700 residential and commercial properties with lead in soil concentrations greater than 231 parts per million (ppm). The cleanup generally consisted of removal of 18 inches of soil and construction of an 18-inch cap consisting of vegetated soil or rock.
  • Capping of mine waste piles near Eureka which posed a human health risk with an 18-inch cap of vegetated soil or rock.
  • Construction of a disposal cell for contaminated soils excavated during future construction activities.
  • Assisting the City of Eureka with the adoption of an excavation ordinance to control excavation activities that would disturb the clean cap and expose underlying contaminated materials.
  • Public health actions, including information programs, periodic blood lead testing of children, and a program for evaluating sources of indoor lead exposure.

Potentially responsible parties (e.g., mine owners) performed portions of the remedial action. This included capping of the May Day, Godiva and Chief Mine #2 mine waste piles, remediation of the property referred to as Upper Eureka Gulch, and providing materials and resources for other RA tasks. All other remedial action activities were performed by EPA under the authority of the Superfund program.

Operable Unit 4 is the final operable unit to be addressed at the site and includes site-wide groundwater and surface water, and ecological risks associated with non-residential areas of Eureka. In 2007, EPA initiated studies of OU4, which were completed in 2011. The results of these studies are presented in the following documents:

On September 21, 2011, EPA, in consultation with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ), signed a Record of Decision for Operable Unit 4. This Record of Decision documents EPA’s selected remedy to address site groundwater, site surface water and ecological risks within undeveloped areas of the site. The remedy calls for no additional active remediation. The decision was made after reviewing site data and considering all public comments received on a proposed plan.

logo of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

EPA completed cleanup of all properties within the city of Eureka in October 2010. A total of more than 700 properties have been addressed by remedial and removal programs since 2001. Cleanup of the Eureka Mills site was completed a year ahead of schedule as a result of $26.5 million in funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.

ARRA funding also funded the stabilization and capping of thirteen large mine waste areas and construction of sediment ponds and other drainage control features. The capping and construction of these features will prevent surface runoff with elevated concentrations of metals from contaminating cleaned up areas. The ARRA funding also created or retained more than 50 jobs by prime recipients, as reported by recovery.gov.

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Community Involvement

Community involvement plays an important role in the Superfund process. EPA uses a number of different tools and resources to promote effective, on-going, meaningful community involvement. The goals of the Superfund community involvement program are to:

  • Keep communities affected by sites informed throughout the cleanup process.
  • Provide opportunities for communities to comment and offer their input about site cleanup plans.
  • Facilitate the resolution of community issues tied to a site.

EPA and UDEQ coordinate with the Eureka community through fact sheets, one-on-one meetings, and participation at Eureka City Council meetings and by publishing public notices in the nearest major newspaper. A Community Involvement Plan (CIP) was developed in October 2001 and revised during the summer of 2007. Community interviews were conducted in the spring of 2007 to seek community input on the revised CIP. The revised CIP is available for review in Site Documents below.

Community interviews were also conducted during the second five-year review in 2013.

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Reuse

EPA places a high priority on land reuse as part of its Superfund response program mission. The Agency tries to select cleanup options that encourage and support future use of a site. We use two fundamental methods to facilitate reuse of Superfund sites:

  • Exploring future uses before the cleanup remedy is implemented, an approach that gives the Agency the best chance of designing cleanup remedies to support the likely future use of a site
  • Working with landowners and communities to remove barriers not considered necessary for the protection of human health or the environment at those sites where remedies are already in place

One option for reuse is the siting of clean and renewable energy projects on contaminated (or formerly contaminated) lands. As part of this effort, EPA is evaluating the potential for energy projects on these properties and working with landowners and communities to identify ways to remove barriers to such projects.

Historic photo of the Shea Bldg, built in 1899
The historic Shea Bldg. hails from 1899

The National Historic Preservation Act (NPHA) requires federal agencies to consider the effects of their undertakings on historic properties. EPA conducted cultural and archeological surveys of Eureka and surrounding mining areas to determine the potential impact of the cleanup in Eureka. The surveys identified unavoidable impact on historic structures. To mitigate the negative impacts on historic properties, EPA restored the Bullion Beck head frame located at the west entrance to Eureka and, in consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office, UDEQ, City of Eureka, and Eureka citizens, EPA began restorative work on the Shea building in 2006. The Shea building has significant historical significance for the city of Eureka and this restoration was completed in April 2007.

Since the Superfund site boundaries included the entire city, many properties in Eureka were already in use before and during the Superfund cleanup and remain in use now that cleanup has been completed.

Eureka Mills: Reuse Fact Sheet, September 2013

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Land Use Controls and Other Institutional Controls

Land use controls are the most common type of institutional control (IC). ICs are administrative or legal controls that help reduce the likelihood for human exposure to contamination. ICs can also help protect the integrity of the remedy. Examples of ICs are:

  • Zoning ordinances
  • Environmental covenants
  • Deed notices
  • Well-drilling restrictions
  • Building permits
  • Informational advisories

The City of Eureka passed a land use ordinance in October 2010 to ensure that excavation activities are safely conducted in the community. In addition, EPA has required the mine owners to file Environmental Covenants in the chain of title at the Juab County Recorder's office on the land parcels they own where the capped mine waste areas, sedimentation ponds and other drainage control features exist. The purpose of the Environmental Covenants is to protect these areas from future disturbance unless the State of Utah and EPA approve any changes to the areas in writing.

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Five-Year Reviews

EPA or the lead agency conducts five-year reviews following the start of a Superfund cleanup when contamination is left on the site. These reviews are repeated every five years. We use these reviews to determine:

  • How the remedy is working.
  • If the remedy remains protective of human health and the environment.

The second five-year review was completed in September 2013. The review concluded that the remedy is protective of human health and the environment. However, the remedy at Operable Unit 3 (Central Eureka Mining Areas) will require the establishment of easements in order to be protective in the long term. In addition, the operation and maintenance issues identified during the site inspection (listed in Table 6 of the report) should be addressed as recommended in Table 7 to ensure the continued long-term protectiveness of the remedy.

The five-year review report is available in Site Documents below.

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Site Documents

You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s About PDF page to learn more.

Second Five-Year Review Report, September 29, 2013(282 pp, 42.6 MB)

Record of Decision for OU4 (PDF), September 2011(47 pp, 2.8 MB)

Proposed Plan for OU4, March 2011

Focused Feasibility Study Report, OU4, March 2011

Community Involvement Plan, September 2007

Record of Decision (PDF) (site-wide), November 30, 2002(99 pp, 352 K)

Risk Assessment Fact Sheet, November 2001

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Contacts

EPA

Armando Saenz
Remedial Project Manager
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8
1595 Wynkoop Street (8EPR-SR)
Denver, CO 80202-1129
303-312-6559
800-227-8917 ext. 312-6559 (toll free Region 8 only)
saenz.armando@epa.gov

Cynthia Peterson
Community Involvement Coordinator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8
1595 Wynkoop Street (8OC)
Denver, CO 80202-1129
303-312-6879
800-227-8917 ext. 312-6879 (toll free Region 8 only)
peterson.cynthia@epa.gov

UDEQ

Michael Storck
State Project Manager
Utah Department of Environmental Quality
Environmental Response & Remediation Division
195 North 1950 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84116
801-536-4179
mstorck@utah.gov

Dave Allison
State Community Involvement Specialist
Utah Department of Environmental Quality
Environmental Response & Remediation Division
195 North 1950 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84116
801-536-4479
dallison@utah.gov

Site Information Repositories:

Utah Department of Environmental Quality
Division of Environmental Response and Remediation
195 North 1950 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84116
801-536-4100

EPA Superfund Records Center
1595 Wynkoop Street
Denver, CO 80202-1129
To request copies of administrative record documents call:
303-312-7273
800-227-8917 ext. 312-7273 (toll free Region 8 only)

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Photo/Video Gallery

Click on a thumbnail below to view the full size image.

Aerial view of the west end of Eureka
Flowers carpet Eureka city
Erecting scaffolding at the Shea Bldg.
Removing old roof trusses from the Shea Bldg.
Installing new roof trusses on the Shea Bldg.
View of Bullion Beck from Eagle-Bluebell
Massive headframe at Bullion Beck
Gemini-Bullion Beck before cleanup
Gemini-Bullion Beck after cleanup
View of Eureka from Gemini-Bullion Beck

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Links

The following links exit the site Exit

City of Eureka

Juab County

Utah Department of Environmental Quality

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