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 July 2012

The May 2011 geotechnical review concluded that a wide range of redevelopment could occur on or off the cap, as long as a reuse plan demonstrates how the integrity and stability of the cap will be maintained and the institutional controls are followed. If deemed appropriate, the reuse plan can incorporate mixed uses including residential, office/commercial, business park/industrial and open space. The reuse plan must be specific to the development proposal under consideration at the time, and must be approved by the City of Midvale.

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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. OU1 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 resident’s 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 Superfund 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 the site 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.

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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.

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.

ICs are in place to prohibit groundwater wells, restrict the use of groundwater, and protect the integrity of the cap.

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.

The most recent five-year review was conducted in September 2009. This third 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. The fourth five-year review is scheduled to be completed by September 2014.

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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.

Geotechnical Review, May 2, 2011

Update to the Five-Year Review, January 2013

Third Five-Year Review Report (PDF), September 2009(88 pp, 1.3 MB)

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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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
Community Involvement Coordinator
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)


Tony Howes
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

Site Information Repositories:

Tyler Branch Library
8041 South Wood Street
Midvale, Utah 840477
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:
800-227-8917 ext. 312-7273 (toll free Region 8 only)

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Photo/Video Gallery

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The following links exit the site Exit

Utah Department of Environmental Quality

Midvale City Website

Ruth Vine Tyler Library

Citizens for a Safe Future for Midvale

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