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10/25/05 Press Release: Public Comment Requested on Sulphur Bank Superfund Site.


Remediation Efforts at Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine to begin.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites the public to review and comment on the first phase cleanup plan at the Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine Superfund Site in Clearlake Oaks. Recently released, the Engineering Evaluation and Cost Analysis (EE/CA) identifies and evaluates remediation activities proposed at the Elem Indian Colony.

Mine wastes from the Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine, contaminated with unsafe levels of mercury and arsenic, were historically used as construction materials at the Elem Indian Colony. This is the first phase in the long-term EPA remediation efforts and an important component to the overall plan. Other phases include cleanup of the Herman Impound (OU1) scheduled for public comment in early 2006, and effect on the lake water near the Superfund Site (OU2), not yet scheduled.

The EPA has developed and evaluated seven alternatives to clean up the construction mine wastes at the Elem Indian Colony. The proposed alternative would include excavating several areas of known mine wastes and transporting the material back to the Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine for future disposal. It would also involve the demolition and replacement of three houses currently located on top of mine wastes, as well as reconstruction of the paved roadway system and several gravel roads. Work is scheduled to take place in the summer of 2006.

The Clear Lake Environmental Action Network, Inc (CLEAN) will be hosting a presentation on the Elem Indian Colony cleanup options proposed by the EPA. This will take place on November 4, 6pm at the Clearlake Oaks Senior Center, 12502 Foothill in Clearlake Oaks. Dr. Dietrick McGinnis, CLEAN technical advisor, will provide a summary and discussion of the proposed EPA cleanup plan, and how it may affect Clearlake Oaks residents. Anyone interested in the Superfund Site and proposed cleanup options are encouraged to attend and ask questions/voice concerns. Rick Sugarek, EPA Remedial Project Manager and Pui Man Wong, EPA Community Involvement Coordinator, will also be available for questions at this meeting.

CLEAN is a non-profit community group formed in 2003, to ensure concerned individuals a full participation and understanding of the EPA mitigation efforts at Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine, which became an EPA Superfund Site in 1990.

In Lake County, the EPA documents are available at Redbud Library, located at 14785 Burns Valley Road in Clearlake and Lake County Library, located at 1422 N. High St. in Lakeport. A copy of the document - both in hard copy and on CD - is also available for review at the Clearlake Oaks Senior Center located at 12502 Foothill in Clearlake Oaks, 998-1950.

The public may provide written comments until November 25th, 2005. Comments may be directed to Rick Sugarek, US EPA, 75 Hawthorne St. SFD-7-2, San Francisco, CA 94105.

For further information, contact Rick Sugarek, EPA Remedial Project Manager at 415-972-3151 or Pui Man Wong, EPA Community Involvement Coordinator at 800-231-3075. CLEAN may be contacted by calling Chuck Lamb at 998-0135 or email info@cleanlake.org.