Region 8

Midvale Slag

Midvale Slag site location map Site Type: Deleted NPL
City: Midvale
County: Salt Lake
Street Address: 6400 South 700 West 7800
ZIP Code: 84027
EPA ID: UTD081834277
SSID: 0871
Site Aliases: Midvale, Tailings, Sheridan Hill Smelter
Congressional District: 2

What's New?

Updated April 2015

On April 20, 2015, EPA, state, and local agency representatives joined business leaders and elected officials and staff at the FLSmidth Plaza in Midvale City to celebrate the removal of the Midvale Slag site from EPA’s Superfund list. EPA deleted the site from the National Priorities List (NPL), which is the list of the some of the nation’s most environmentally contaminated sites, often referred to as Superfund sites, because all required cleanup activity at the site is complete. This marks 20 plus years of collaboration and dedication at the federal, state, and local level to transform a once contaminated land into a thriving development.

Midvale City Mayor JoAnn Seghini addresses the crowd at the Midvale Celebration Event. Joining Mayor Seghini on the panel of speakers were Nicole Dunn, Deputy Mayor of Salt Lake County; Amanda Smith, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality; Brian Day, Group Executive Vice President for FLSmidth; Kirk Aubry, President and Chief Executive Officer at Savage; Shaun McGrath, Regional Administrator, EPA Region 8; and Melissa Friedland, National Coordinator for EPA’s Superfund Redevelopment Inititative.

Between 1871 and 1958, as many as five lead and copper smelters processed ore on or near the Midvale Slag site, leaving behind heavy metals in the soil and groundwater, various mine debris, and an estimated 2.4 million cubic yards of slag (waste from processed ore).

Today, the site is home to Bingham Junction, a thriving mixed-use development supporting thousands of jobs, with a current tax base of approximately $350 million—up from approximately $4 million in 2004. The deletion of the Midvale Superfund site from the NPL is the 378th deletion of a Superfund site from the NPL nationwide.

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Site Description

Historic smelters in Midvale

The 446-acre Midvale Slag Superfund Site is located 12 miles south of Salt Lake City in Midvale City, with a small portion extending into Murray City. The site is divided into two operable units. Operable Unit 1 (OU1) is the northern 266 acres of the site. Operable Unit 2 (OU2) is the remaining 180 acres to the south. The dividing boundary between OU1 and OU2 is approximately 7200 South. Both OUs are currently undergoing significant redevelopment post cleanup.

Map of site boundary, Operable Units and Institutional Controls

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Site Risk

The site is a former smelting facility on the Jordan River. Five separate smelters were located on or near the site from 1871 to 1958. A mill on the adjacent Sharon Steel Superfund site continued operating until 1971. The smelters processed ores from Bingham Canyon and other mines. Studies conducted in 1984 found that groundwater and soil were contaminated with heavy metals. Potential human health threats included drinking contaminated shallow groundwater or swallowing, inhaling, or handling contaminated soil and wastes. EPA listed the Midvale Slag Superfund site on the National Priorities List (NPL), commonly known as the list of Superfund sites, in 1991.

Media Affected Contaminants Source of Contamination
soils, air, groundwater, surface water, sediment, solid waste lead, arsenic, chromium, cadmium, barium, copper, mercury, selenium, silver and zinc

smelting wastes

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Cleanup Progress

Damaged Sheet Pile Dam
The walls of this damaged sheet pile dam across the Jordan River along the Midvale Slag Superfund Site were still standing along both banks, but the center section had buckled. Although the dam appeared to be stable, it could have failed in the future. This could have allowed river water to erode the riverbank and release site contaminants into the river.
New Boulder Dam
This newly constructed dam is a steel-reinforced boulder structure that replaces the damaged sheet pile dam. The structure's low flow channels direct the water toward the center of the river to avoid riverbank erosion. In addition, two safer options for canoeists and kayakers were built into the design. A low-flow boat passage was constructed, identified by signal boulders. Also, the portage passage was improved to allow boaters to bypass the structure, if preferred.

In 1995, EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for OU1, the northern portion of the site, which included removing and replacing soils from yards in a residential neighborhood, placement of a soil cover over undeveloped portions of the residential area, and implementing deed restrictions and other Institutional Controls (ICs) to protect the integrity of the soil cover. Three years later, EPA and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ) issued an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) to the OU1 ROD that required the excavation of contaminated soils on one parcel of land, rather than capping, and thus eliminated the need for institutional controls governing use of that parcel.

EPA issued a ROD for OU2, the southern portion of the site, in 2002 that included excavation and covers over smelter wastes, re-grading and covers over slag piles, groundwater monitoring, and implementing institutional controls to restrict installation of groundwater wells and future excavation of the property.

In 2006, EPA issued another ESD for OU1 that changed the land use restrictions to accommodate multiple land uses, and created an approach to manage the riparian areas along the Jordan River and to remediate groundwater consistent with the OU2 ROD.

Cleanup work at both OUs is complete.

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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.

In 1992, a concerned group, Citizens for a Safe Future for Midvale, received a Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) from EPA to hire a technical advisor to study and inform the community about issues related to site cleanup. Members of the TAG met regularly with EPA, the State of Utah and Midvale City representatives throughout the Midvale Slag Superfund site cleanup.

Occasionally, EPA and the state held community forums to provide timely updates of cleanup activities to elected officials and interested citizens.

During key points in the cleanup process, EPA issued public notices and press releases, held public comment periods and public meetings and initiated other activities to keep the public informed about pending cleanup decisions and/or actions.

In the summer of 2007, EPA brought together the TAG members and a group of interested citizens and agency representatives to form the Jordan River Stakeholder Group. This group met bimonthly to work together on the design plans for the Jordan River Riparian Improvement project. This forum was very valuable to the success of the project.

As part of the third five-year review, EPA conducted community interviews with individuals who wanted to share their views or concerns regarding the protectiveness of the site. Individuals included former members of the Citizens for a Safe Future for Midvale Technical Advisory Grant group, city, county and state employees, and Utah Transit Authority officials. The overall impression of the site was positive and the work completed at the site has allowed the area to be put back into reuse, resulting in a huge economic benefit for the city of Midvale.

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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. 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.

single-family homes
Single-family residential
multifamily homes
Multifamily residential
upscale residential
Upscale residential
recreational development
Recreational development
recreational development
West Jordan side of the river parkway
recreational development
West Jordan side of the river parkway
retail development
Retail development
UTA light rail transportation
UTA light rail transportation
commercial development
Commercial development

Early in the cleanup process, EPA partnered with the state and local governments to ensure that the site's remedy would be compatible with mixed residential and commercial land uses planned for the site. In 1999, the site was named Region 8's pilot project for the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative (SRI). In 2006, Midvale Slag was named an SRI Return to Use Demonstration Project, and in 2008 a Ready for Reuse (RfR) Determination was completed for the 446-acre site. Redevelopment is currently underway at the site, now known as Bingham Junction.

Outcomes from the site’s Bingham Junction development are striking. The site today provides approximately 2,000 jobs. In 2004 the total taxable value was $3,899,414; today, it is $309,539,774, which is expected to increase even more as new businesses come on line in 2016/2017. SRI's 2011 case study, Cleanup and Mixed-Use Revitalization on the Wasatch Front, explores this complex project, sharing key lessons learned with parties interested in learning more about mixed-use redevelopment and revitalization opportunities at contaminated lands. A video, From Midvale to Bingham Junction, also tells the story of this multi-stakeholder process.

Additionally, in July 2012, EPA’s Office of Site Remediation Enforcement published a case study, From Midvale Slag to Bingham Junction: A Superfund Success Story, highlighting the use of the innovative enforcement mechanisms at the site.

The Bingham Junction light rail station on the Utah Transit Authority's Mid-Jordan/University Line opened on the site in August 2011.

Midvale Slag: 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.

All redevelopment construction at the Midvale Slag Superfund Site must be performed in accordance with the institutional controls, which may be found in the Midvale City Municipal Code Exit.

Map of site boundary, Operable Units and Institutional Controls

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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 third five-year review was completed in April 2014. This review concluded that all the remedial actions at both operable units are protective, and the site is protective of human health and the environment. No issues or recommendations were identified during the five-year review. The next five-year review is scheduled to be completed by April 2019.

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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.

Federal Register: final rule (notice of deletion), April 8, 2015

Final Close-Out Report, November 5, 2014

Third Five-Year Review Report, April 2014

Explanation of Significant Differences for OU1 and OU2, November 2013

Riparian Improvement Project Fact Sheet, September 2010

Riparian Improvement Project Fact Sheet, October 2008

OU1 Explanation of Significant Differences (PDF), February 2006 (9 pp, 476 K)

OU2 Record of Decision (PDF), October 2002 (276 pp, 8.4 MB)

OU1 Explanation of Significant Differences, May 1998

OU1 Record of Decision (PDF), April 1995 (73 pp, 148 K)

Reuse/Redevelopment Documents

Report: From Midvale Slag to Bingham Junction, July 2012

SRI Return to Use 2006 Demonstration Project (PDF), Updated April 2012 (2 pp, 350 K)

Case Study: Cleanup and Mixed-Use Revitalization on the Wasatch Front (PDF), May 2011 (18 pp, 1.9 MB)

Ready for Reuse (RfR) Determination (PDF), May 2008 (103 pp, 10.1 MB)

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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)

Jennifer Chergo
Office of Communication and Public Involvement
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8
1595 Wynkoop Street (8OC)
Denver, CO 80202-1129
800-227-8917, ext. 312-6601 (toll free Region 8 only)

Site Information Repositories:

Tyler Branch Library
315 South Wood
Midvale, UT 84047

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

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)


Tony Howes
Environmental Scientist
Utah Department of Environmental Quality
195 North 1950 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84116

Dave Allison
Community Involvement Coordinator
Utah Department of Environmental Quality
195 North 1950 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84116

Midvale City

John Jacobson
Development Site Coordinator
655 West Center Street
Midvale, UT 84047

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Photo/Video Gallery

Video: From Midvale Slag to Bingham Junction From Midvale Slag to Bingham Junction: how a complex multi-stakeholder process helped turn a badly contaminated former mining site into a major mixed-use redevelopment in the heart of Salt Lake Valley. Watch the video »

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The following links exit the site Exit

Midvale City Website

Midvale City Municipal Code

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