Region 8

US Magnesium

US Magnesium site location map Site Type: Final NPL
County: Tooele
Street Address: Great Salt Lake southwest shore, approximately 15 miles north of the Rowley exit on I-80
ZIP Code: 84029 and 84083
EPA ID: UTN000802704
SSID: 08PU
Site Alias: US Magnesium, LLC
Congressional District: 1

What's New?

Updated July 2014

On June 18, 2014, EPA with assistance from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ) and Environmental Resources Management (ERM), hosted an open house at the Grantsville Library to provide information to the public about the ongoing environmental investigation at the US Magnesium Superfund site.

On June 19, 2014, EPA, with assistance from UDEQ, hosted a Community Advisory Group informational meeting. Attendees showed interest in forming a Community Advisory Group, which will be comprised of local community members, interest groups, and business and government representatives. Group members will be committed to meeting regularly over the long term to discuss the details of the site investigation and cleanup.

EPA will advertise the next Community Advisory Group meeting on this page and in the Tooele Transcript. If you would like to be placed on the contact list to be notified directly about the next Community Advisory Group and other site updates, please contact Jennifer Chergo. Links to the informational posters on display at the June 18 open house and EPA presentation given at the June 19 Community Advisory Group informational meeting are posted in Site Documents.

To date, preliminary site conceptual models for site characterization and risk assessment have been developed, and ERM has begun to conduct soil and groundwater sampling at the site (as required under an EPA-issued work plan). More work is anticipated for 2014-15 to meet the Phase 1A Sampling and Analysis Plan objectives. See Cleanup Progress for more details, or Site Documents for a link to the Phase 1A Sampling and Analysis Plan.

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Site Description

The US Magnesium facility and areas of waste disposal spans 4,525 acres in Tooele County, Utah. The site is located in a scarcely populated, industrial area, 40 miles west of Salt Lake City. The nearest population center is 33 miles north of Grantsville.

Aerial View of the U.S. Magnesium Facility
Aerial view of the US Magnesium facility

The facility is adjacent to the Great Salt Lake, an area that has been designated as a site of hemispheric importance by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. It is an ecosystem that attracts millions of birds per year and houses many unique plants and animals as well as certain species of federal and state concern.

The facility has been producing magnesium at the site since 1972. It uses brine from the Great Salt Lake as the raw material and produces a variety of wastes. There are areas of uncontrolled wastes on the property which investigations show are threatening the health of workers and the environment.

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Site Risk

EPA and UDEQ have been concerned about releases from the facility to the environment from the site for more than 15 years. Risk assessments show environmental and human health risks.

Contaminants consist of heavy metals, acidic wastewater, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins/furans, hexachlorobenzene (HCBs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These largely uncontrolled contaminants have both cancerous and non-cancerous health risks to humans and wildlife and have been released into the air, soil, surface water, and groundwater and are largely uncontrolled.

Red River Anode Outfall Sampling and Dead Bird
Red River Anode Outfall Sampling and Dead Bird

Birds have been regularly observed in contact with or near contaminated areas on the site. Observations indicate that waterfowl can die after coming into contact with the contamination. Bird egg studies have documented concentrations of PCB and HCB in eggs at or near the site. Additionally, about twenty years ago, the lake level rose and flooded the site, creating an open conduit for contaminants to travel into the Great Salt Lake.

Dioxin, PCBs and HCB are present at levels potentially posing both cancer and non-cancer (diabetes and immune system) risks to industrial workers throughout the site. Blood testing of workers in 2002 and in 2004 found elevated levels of dioxin and HCB as compared to the general U.S. population.

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Cleanup Progress

On September 3, 2008, EPA, with support from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ), announced in the Federal Register its proposal to add US Magnesium to the National Priorities List (NPL). The NPL is a list of some of the nation’s most highly contaminated sites, commonly referred to as Superfund sites.

On November 2, 2009, EPA, with support from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ), announced in the Federal Register that it had added the US Magnesium site to the NPL.

On November 4, 2009, US Magnesium, LLC filed with the U.S. District Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. an appeal of EPA’s listing on the NPL. The Court of Appeals issued rulings in August 2010 rejecting US Magnesium’s appeal.

On August 4, 2011, EPA filed an Administrative Order on Consent with US Magnesium, LLC for the performance of the Remedial Investigation (RI) and Feasibility Study (FS). The consent order provides that US Magnesium, LLC contractors will conduct the Superfund RI/FS for the site in accordance with EPA direction, procedures and subject to EPA oversight. The goal of the RI is to determine the nature and extent of contamination at the site. The purpose of the FS is to evaluate potential cleanup alternatives based on information gathered during the RI.

In September 2013, EPA issued the Phase 1A Remedial Investigation Sampling and Analysis Plan to Identify Chemicals of Potential Concern in Soils, Sediment, Solid Waste, Water and Air, and Receptor Surveys (Phase 1A SAP). The Phase 1A SAP is the first phase in a four-phased approach to the remedial investigation. It lays out the technical specifications for implementing Phase 1A of the remedial investigation. The main objectives of the Phase 1A SAP include:

  • Develop preliminary site conceptual models which identify if and how anyone or anything in the environment might be exposed to harmful contaminants.
  • Plan specifications for the work necessary to identify chemicals of potential concern at the site.
  • Conduct surveys to assess ecological habitat and potential for exposures threatening human health.
  • Develop a screening level Ecological Risk Assessment (SLERA) and refine the conceptual site models.

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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

On September 3, 2008, EPA announced in the Federal Register its proposal to add US Magnesium to the NPL. EPA received input from area stakeholders in advance of the proposal. EPA also announced the proposal in the Salt Lake Tribune on September 3, 2008 and on this Web page. EPA held a public comment period on the proposal and received 115 letters and petitions in support of the listing and three in opposition.

On November 2, 2009, EPA, with support from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ), announced in the Federal Register and issued a press release that it had added US Magnesium to the NPL. On November 4, EPA sent an email to stakeholders on its mailing list and updated this page with information regarding the NPL listing. EPA issued a public notice in the Tooele Transcript and the Salt Lake Tribune to announce the NPL listing.

In January 2010, EPA and UDEQ community involvement staff and project managers held a series of meetings to introduce themselves to interested stakeholders and to discuss the listing.

In September and November 2011, and April 2012, EPA and UDEQ community involvement and project management staff conducted formal community interviews with interested stakeholders as a basis for developing the Community Involvement Plan. The Community Involvement Plan was finalized in September 2012 and is the foundation for community involvement and outreach activities at the US Magnesium Superfund site.

In 2013, representatives from the Friends of the Great Salt Lake applied for and received an EPA Technical Assistance Grant (TAG). A TAG recipient receives funds to hire an independent technical advisor to help interpret information and data about the site for the group. The TAG recipient group then assists in communicating site information to the community at large.

EPA hosted a public open house and informational session on June 18, 2014 at the Grantsville Library. EPA also hosted a Community Advisory Group informational meeting on June 19, 2014. These meetings were advertised directly to stakeholders via email updates, and to the general public via this Web page and public notices in the Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News and Tooele Transcript.

EPA will advertise the next Community Advisory Group meeting on this page and in the Tooele Transcript. If you would like to be placed on the contact list to be notified directly about the next Community Advisory Group and other site updates, please contact Jennifer Chergo. Links to the informational posters on display at the June 18 open house and EPA presentation given at the June 19 Community Advisory Group informational meeting are posted in Site Documents.

EPA is committed to a substantial and meaningful public involvement process as environmental investigation and cleanup at the US Magnesium Superfund site progresses. If you are interested in being added to the site contact list or would like more information, please contact EPA representative Jennifer Chergo, listed in Contacts below.

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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

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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:

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

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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.

Presentation from the Community Advisory Group informational meeting, June 19, 2014

Informational posters displayed at the open house, June 18, 2014

Site photos presented at the open house, June 18, 2014

Site Fact Sheet, updated June 2014

Phase 1A Remedial Investigation Sampling and Analysis Plan, September 2013

Community Involvement Plan, September 2012

Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent for Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study, August 4, 2011

Final HRS package, Rev. November 2009

Final Rule, FR notice #48 (PDF), November 4, 2009(8 pp, 79 K)

Proposed Rule, FR notice #49 (PDF), September 3, 2008(8 pp, 77 K)

HRS package correction, September 23, 2008

HRS package to propose site for the NPL, September 2008

Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment documents:

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Contacts

EPA

Ken Wangerud
NPL Coordinator
Remedial Project Manager
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8
1595 Wynkoop Street (8EPR-SR)
Denver, CO 80202
303-312-6703
800-227-8917, ext. 312-6703
wangerud.ken@epa.gov

Jennifer Chergo
Office of Communication and Public Affairs
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8
1595 Wynkoop Street (8OC)
Denver, CO 80202
303-312-6601
800-227-8917, ext. 312-6601
chergo.jennifer@epa.gov

UDEQ

Chad Gilgen
Environmental Scientist
Utah Department of Environmental Quality
195 North 1950 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84116
801-536-4237
cgilgen@utah.gov

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

Site Information Repositories

Grantsville City Hall
429 East Main Street
Grantsville, Utah 84029
435-884-3411
Hours: 9 – 5, Mon. – Fri.

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

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

US Magnesium facility
Red River anode outfall sampling
Culvert sampling by unprotected workers
Spent liquid outfall
Dead white pelican

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Links

The following links exit the site Exit

Tooele County, Utah

Utah Department of Environmental Quality

Friends of the Great Salt Lake

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