Region 8

Kennecott South Zone / Bingham

Kennecott South Zone site location map Site Type: Withdrawn from Proposed NPL
City: Copperton
County: Salt Lake
Street Address: 10200 South 8400 West
Zip Code: 84006
EPA ID: UTD000826404
SSID: 081B
Site Aliases: Includes Bingham, Butterfield, Lark, Revere, Yampa, Utah Silver
Congressional District: 3

What's New?

Updated March 2014

Maple Hills Development recently completed the removal of contaminated soils from the former Bingham Magna Ditch. These soils were discovered when a new road was being constructed in the Maple Hills Development.

Questar Gas is replacing a section of its Phase I Feeder line 36 beneath Operable Units (OUs) 1, 5, and 6 in the southern and western sections of the Salt Lake Valley. Feeder lines are typically 12-inch diameter steel pipelines that supply smaller main and individual service lines which connect to meters in homes and businesses such as Kennecott Copper Company, Trans Jordan Landfill, the town of Copperton and the City of Herriman. Questar sampled soils from 94 test pits along the five-mile pipeline route and found lead and arsenic in amounts that exceed safe levels for commercial and industrial uses. Questar has submitted a soil management plan for EPA and Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ) approval that discusses how these soils could be incorporated into the pipeline project that avoids future health impacts to the public.

A five-year review is scheduled for 2015 to evaluate whether the remedies selected in the Record of Decision (ROD) remain protective of human health and the environment.

Backhoe digging a trench for a pipeline, with the Oquirrah Mountains in the background

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Site Description

The Kennecott South Zone includes the Bingham Mining District, in the Oquirrh Mountains, about 25 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah. Included in the mining district is the Bingham Canyon open pit mine, associated waste rock dumps, Copperton Mill and many other historic sites. Mining activities at the site began in the 1860s and continue today. Historic mining operations produced lead, zinc, silver, copper, molybdenum and gold ores. Kennecott Utah Copper LLC (Kennecott) and its predecessors, and the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) have cleaned up waste rock, mill tailings, slag, smelter wastes, tail water, surface water and groundwater, with oversight by state and federal agencies

In 1990, EPA and UDEQ discovered homes had been built on former flood plains contaminated with high levels of lead and arsenic. Kennecott and ARCO, with community input and oversight by EPA and UDEQ, conducted studies to determine the nature and volume of the contaminated wastes.

Following the soil characterization work, removal actions were implemented under administrative and unilateral orders. Cleanup involved removal of soil with high lead and arsenic levels and disposal into repositories constructed on Kennecott’s property. At the South Jordan Evaporation Ponds, sludge with elevated sulfate concentrations were consolidated and capped on site. By 1999, removal of soils under these early response actions was completed. More than 25 million tons of mining wastes have been removed.

Bingham Canyon open-pit mine

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Site Risk

From 1863, early miners in the area processed gold, silver, lead, zinc and copper, and erected many mills and smelters. They deposited most wastes in the creeks or on the nearby flood plains and valley slopes. The wastes eroded and were deposited downstream. The primary landmark in the district today is the large, open-pit Bingham Canyon copper mine.

High levels of lead and arsenic were found in Bingham Creek and Butterfield Creek. Neighborhoods were built on contaminated flood plains and creek beds.

There are two groundwater plumes that have two distinct contamination sources and are not connected. The Zone A plume, managed by Kennecott, contains elevated metals, sulfate and total dissolved solids (and low pH) in excess of the State of Utah drinking water standards. The Zone B plume, managed by Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District (as part of a joint project addressing a Natural Resource damage claim filed by Utah), contains elevated levels of sulfate and total dissolved solids in excess of the State of Utah drinking water standards.

Media Affected Contaminants Source of Contamination
soils, groundwater, surface water, sludge, sediment arsenic, lead, sulfate, total dissolved solids (TDS) waste rock, tailings, tail waters, other mining influenced waters, ore

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Cleanup Progress

On January 18, 1994, the Kennecott South Zone was proposed to the National Priorities List (NPL). Pursuant to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between UDEQ and Kennecott, signed in September 1995, Kennecott agreed to complete numerous cleanup projects for the site as well as the nearby Kennecott North Zone. On September 3, 2008, EPA officially withdrew the proposal to place the site on the NPL.

Since 1995, UDEQ, EPA and Kennecott have collaborated to expedite field work and reduce potential exposures from legacy mine waste. As a result of the cleanups resulting from various decision documents, Kennecott has reduced potential exposure in the surrounding communities and on private property. Five-year reviews of remedial actions implemented to date concluded that remedial action objectives have been achieved. Kennecott has assisted with implementing the recommendations identified in the five-year reviews.

On May 21, 2008, EPA finalized a Remedial Design/Remedial Action Consent Decree, which was amended in June 2009, prescribing future cleanup activities. This also put into place an enforcement mechanism and financial assurance to ensure that the cleanup and the operation and maintenance of the remedy will continue.

The long-term action is to contain groundwater contamination. A Record of Decision (ROD) was signed in 2000. Cleanup and treatment designs have been conducted in coordination with a Natural Resource Damage Settlement. A water treatment plant began operation in the spring of 2006.

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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.

A group of stakeholders, representing diverse interests, meets at least annually. The group, known as the Technical Review Committee, discusses progress on the site and makes recommendations on future activities. In 2001 Kennecott established the Kennecott Land Company (KLC) to develop non-mining land. In order for these plans to be a success, KLC has to collaborate with the City of South Jordan, conduct quality communications with all stakeholders, engage and actively involve the community and ultimately gain everyone’s trust.

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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. EPA uses 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.

The Daybreak Community sits beside Oquirrah Lake

Kennecott’s land holdings include over 93,000 acres, most of which are in the historic mining area in the Oquirrh Mountains. Corporate executives for Kennecott realized the opportunity that existed for reuse of their lands, especially for residential and commercial real estate development of their land holdings. Because of redevelopment potential and the prospect of being placed on EPA’s National Priorities List (NPL) of hazardous waste sites (Superfund), Kennecott voluntarily started cleaning up extensive amounts of contamination on their land on both the North and South Zones. Voluntarily cleaning up their contaminated lands allowed Kennecott to avoid regulatory issues of being on the NPL.

With the cleanup nearly complete and Salt Lake Valley expecting major population growth over the next thirty years, Kennecott began planning development of a sustainable community on their land holdings. This development, the Daybreak community, provides for socially and environmentally responsible growth allowing residents to live, work, learn, and play in a setting that is friendly towards walking, biking, and other transportation options. Built on the site’s former South Jordan evaporation ponds, KLC has redeveloped over 4,500 acres into the Daybreak community. This includes 13,600 homes and approximately 9 million square feet of commercial building space constructed in accordance with EPA Energy Star efficiency guidelines. The Daybreak community added a number of parks, recreational facilities, retail outlets, grocery stores, restaurants and other shops to support the residential community.

Kennecott South Zone/Bingham: 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.

In conjunction with UDEQ and EPA, the cities of West and South Jordan and Salt Lake County are developing land use controls to provide future protectiveness of the remedy. These ensure long-term control over any future land development or redevelopment, residential homeowner activities like excavation of soil, the kinds of plants which may be planted in certain areas and restrictions on drilling private water wells.

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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.

Since waste was left in place, EPA will continue to conduct five-year reviews to ensure that the remedy remains protective of human health and the environment. The second five–year review was signed on September 29, 2010. The third five-year review is scheduled to be completed in 2015.

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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.

Kennecott South Zone/Bingham: Reuse Fact Sheet, September 2013

Addendum to the 2010 Five-Year Review for OU1, September 2011

Update to the Five-Year Review: OUs 1, 4, 5, 10 and 11, December 2010

Update to the Five-Year Review: OUs 3, 6, 7, 17 and 18, December 2010

Second Five-Year Review Report: OUs 1, 4, 5, 10, and 11 (PDF), September 29, 2010 (80 pp, 1.8 MB)

Amended Modification to RD/RA Consent Decree, May 2009

Federal Register Notice re: Proposed Rule No. 49 withdrawing Kennecott South Zone from proposal to the NPL, September 3, 2008

Explanation of Significant Differences for OU2 (PDF), June 23, 2003 (6 pp, 17 K)

Record of Decision for OUs 3, 6 and 7 (PDF), September 28, 2001 (66 pp, 221 K)

Record of Decision for OU2 (PDF), December 13, 2000 (100 pp, 188 K)

Record of Decision for OU1 (PDF), November 3, 1998 (45 pp, 100 K)

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Kerri Fiedler
Environmental Engineer
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8
1595 Wynkoop Street (EPR-SR)
Denver, CO 80202-1129
800-227-8917 ext. 312-6493 (toll free Region 8 only)

Site Information Repositories:

West Jordan City Hall
8000 S. Redwood Road
West Jordan, UT 84088

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


Doug Bacon
Project Manager
Utah Department of Environmental Quality
Environmental Response & Remediation Division
195 North 1950 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84116

Dave Allison
Community Involvement Specialist
Utah Department of Environmental Quality
Environmental Response & Remediation Division
195 North 1950 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84116

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Photo/Video Gallery

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

Historic aerial view of South Jordan evaporation ponds
1: Submersible wellhead for a groundwater pump
2: Groundwater comes in to stations like the Bingham Cutoff Wall Pump Station before going to the reverse osmosis water treatment plant
3: Some of the many filters used in the reverse osmosis water treatment plant

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The following links exit the site Exit

City of West Jordan, Utah

Utah Department of Environmental Quality

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