CLEAR LAKE ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION NETWORK (C.L.E.A.N.)
|EPA Press Release - January 18, 2008|
United States Regional
Administrator Region 9, Arizona, California
Environmental Protection 75 Hawthorne Street Hawaii, Nevada, Guam
Agency San Francisco, CA 94105-3901 American Samoa,
Northern Marianas Islands
For Immediate Release: Jan. 18, 2008
Contact: Wendy Chavez, 415/947-4248, email@example.com
U.S. EPA to begin soil cleanup at homes, roads
near Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine Superfund Site
SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will begin work next week to remove contaminated mine waste from areas along Sulphur Bank Mine Road and Ward Road and several residential properties located to the south and west of the Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine Superfund Site near Clearlake Oaks, Calif.
Without the removal action, the EPA is concerned that residents may be exposed to harmful levels of mercury and arsenic that are present in mine waste that was used as construction material in the residential area. People can be exposed to mercury and arsenic by breathing air with contaminated dust or mercury vapor, incidental ingestion of contaminated soil or ingestion of contaminated water and food.
The EPA will spend approximately $800,000 to remove the contaminated material to prevent hazardous substances from coming into direct contact with area residents and from reaching Clear Lake. Crews will work through March to excavate approximately 2,500 cubic yards of contaminated soil and transport it to the disposal site at the Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine.
“All too often, abandoned mines have left behind a toxic legacy that continues to threaten the health of the people and natural resources of the area,” said Keith Takata, the EPA’s Superfund director for the Pacific Southwest region. “Removing the contaminated soil will protect public health and allow safe continued access to these areas.”
The EPA sampled soil in roadways and
around homes and discovered elevated levels of mercury and arsenic
present at 13 locations. Because contaminated mine waste was used to
gravel areas adjacent to homes and garages and to maintain roadways, the
contaminated soil is shallow -- generally between 6 to 12 inches in
depth. The EPA will remove the contaminated soil, and backfill
excavated areas and roadways to restore previously existing conditions.