Region 8

Sharon Steel Corp. (Midvale Tailings)

Sharon Steel site location map Site Type: Deleted NPL
City: Midvale
County: Salt Lake
Street Address: 7800 South 700 West
ZIP Code: 84047
EPA ID: UTD980951388
SSID: 0840
Site Aliases: Midvale Tailings, United Smelting Refining and Mining Company
Congressional District: 2

What's New?

Updated September 2014

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ), Division of Environmental Response and Remediation, in cooperation with EPA has conducted the fourth five-year review of the remedial actions implemented at the Sharon Steel Superfund site located in Midvale, Utah. The review was conducted from November 2013 through September 2014.

The remedies at the site currently protects human health and the environment. In residential areas, contaminated soils were excavated and replaced with clean soils and institutional controls are in place for properties where excavation of contaminated soils was not possible. Institutional controls for select city properties, transportation right-of-ways and one privately owned property that were not remediated remain in place and are enforced by Midvale City. At another portion of the site, tailings have been capped, groundwater monitoring is conducted and institutional controls prohibiting groundwater use and maintaining the integrity of the cap during development are in place. At the capped area, holes observed in the chain-link fence need to be repaired, trees and brush growing on the cap’s surface need to be removed, and groundwater monitoring needs to continue in order to evaluate potential impacts from future groundwater wells that will be installed west of the Jordan River.

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Site Description

The Sharon Steel Superfund site is located in Midvale, Utah, approximately 12 miles south of Salt Lake City. The site consists of two operable units (OUs). OU1 is a capped 10-million-cubic-yard waste-tailing pile on the southwest side of the site; it consists of approximately 270 undeveloped acres. OU2 consists of approximately 200 acres and 600 residential and commercial properties, adjacent to OU1 on the northeast side of the site.

Map of the Sharon Steel Superfund Site boundaries, March 3, 2012

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Site Risk

Ore processing, smelting and milling took place in the Midvale area for nearly 100 years. Milled ores were smelted to produce lead, arsenic, copper and other metals.

In 1982, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ) became involved at the site when it learned that nearby residents were gathering tailings for use in gardens and children's sandboxes. UDEQ tested residents’ gardens and sandboxes and found high levels of lead.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) tested the groundwater and found high levels of arsenic. Subsequent studies found the groundwater to be contaminated with other heavy metals as well, including iron, manganese and zinc. EPA added the Sharon Steel site to the National Priorities List (NPL) in August 1990.

The greatest potential public health threat to people came from exposure to lead and arsenic through direct contact with or inhalation of contaminated soils, including dust. Children playing in nearby neighborhood soil or sandboxes are especially at risk.

Media Affected Contaminants Source of Contamination
air, surface water, groundwater, soil, liquid waste lead, arsenic, heavy metals such as iron, manganese, and zinc wastes from former smelter operations

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Cleanup Progress

The following cleanup activities were completed by either EPA or UDEQ:

  • 1989: Fencing the site, stabilizing the banks of the Jordan River and spraying the tailings to control blowing dust.
  • 1992–1993: Removal of old mill building.
  • 1995: Capping tailings and reclaiming of surrounding areas.
  • 1995: Installation of groundwater monitoring wells on the perimeter of site to ensure contaminated groundwater is not migrating from the site.
  • 1998: Removal of contaminated soil from more than 600 mostly residential properties and replacement with clean soil.

By 1999, EPA and UDEQ had cleaned up the site and it was deleted from the NPL on September 24, 2004.

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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.

As part of the fourth five-year review, UDEQ conducted community interviews with individuals knowledgeable about the site. Individuals that were interviewed included Midvale City officials, a representative for the property ownership group, former members of the Citizens for a Safe Midvale Technical Advisory Group, Jordan Valley Water Conservation District officials and the UDEQ Project Manager. Reports summarizing the interviews can be found in the five-year review report.

None of the interviewees expressed any health or environmental concerns and said the remedy remains protective. A common concern expressed by those that were interviewed was the lack of development and reuse at OU1. Several interviewees mentioned the cutting of fences and occasional trespassing at OU1 and noted that these issues were usually resolved quickly. Interviewees felt well informed about the site and positive opinions were expressed about the working relationship between the agencies and other stakeholders.

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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. 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.

EPA, UDEQ and the City of Midvale have been working with potential developers on site redevelopment options. Redevelopment of the site is currently not occurring, but it is planned for the future.

Sharon Steel Corp. (Midvale Tailings): Reuse Fact Sheet, May 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.

At OU1, ICs are in place to prohibit groundwater wells, restrict the use of groundwater, and protect the integrity of the cap. At OU2, institutional controls for select city properties, transportation right-of-ways and one privately owned property that were not remediated remain in place and are enforced by Midvale City.

Map of Sharon Steel Superfund Site 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.
Hole in chain-link fence near the Jordan River Parkway Trail at OU1

The fourth five-year review was completed in September 2014. This five-year review concluded that all the remedial actions at all OUs are protective, and the site is protective of human health and the environment. At OU1, holes observed in the chain-link fence need to be repaired, trees and brush growing on the cap’s surface need to be removed, and groundwater monitoring needs to continue in order to evaluate potential impacts from future groundwater wells that will be installed west of the Jordan River.

The next five-year review is scheduled to be completed by September 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.

Fourth Five-Year Review Report, September 2014

Geotechnical Review, May 2, 2011

OU1 (Mill Site and Groundwater) Explanation of Significant Differences to the Record of Decision, July 1, 2004

OU2 (Vicinity Properties Soils) Explanation of Significant Differences (PDF), June 23, 1994(5 pp, 16 K)

OU1 (Mill Site and Groundwater) Record of Decision (PDF), December 9, 1993(81 pp, 176 K)

OU2 (Vicinity Properties Soils) Record of Decision (PDF), September 24, 1990(51 pp, 124 K)

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Contacts

EPA

Kerri Fiedler
Environmental Engineer
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8
1595 Wynkoop Street (EPR-SR)
Denver, CO 80202-1129
303-312-6493
800-227-8917 ext. 312-6493 (toll free Region 8 only)
fiedler.kerri@epa.gov

Jennifer Chergo
Community Involvement Coordinator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8
1595 Wynkoop Street (8OC)
Denver, CO 80202-1129
303-312-6601
800-227-8917 ext. 312-6601 (toll free Region 8 only)
chergo.jennifer@epa.gov

UDEQ

Tony Howes
Project Manager
Utah Department of Environmental Quality
Environmental Response & Remediation Division
195 North 1950 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84116
801-536-4283
thowes@utah.gov

Dave Allison
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:

Tyler Branch Library
8041 South Wood Street
Midvale, Utah 840477
801-943-4636
M-Th: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
F-Sa: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

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 a larger image.

View of cap’s north slope parallel to 7800 South at OU1
View of cap’s west slope parallel to the Jordan River at OU1
Brush growing on the cap’s surface at OU1
Tree growing on the cap’s surface at OU1
View of wetland area at OU1
View of wetland pond at OU1

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Links

The following links exit the site Exit

Utah Department of Environmental Quality

Midvale City Planning and Zoning

Ruth Vine Tyler Library

Citizens for a Safe Future for Midvale

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