If the Murray Smelter and the two sites at Kennecott are added to the EPA's Superfund list, Salt Lake County will be home to 10 of the 16 Superfund sites in Utah.
Though that may seem like a lot of sites, most states have considerably more on the Superfund list, officially called the National Priorities List of environmental cleanups. New Jersey, with 121 Superfund sites, has the most of any state. Around the Intermountain West, Colorado has 17 sites; New Mexico, 11; Arizona, nine; Nevada, one; Idaho, nine; and Wyoming, zero.Here's a summary of each of the seven Superfund sites in Salt Lake County:
Midvale Slag: Just north of 7800 South near 800 West in Midvale, this site contains some 2 million tons of slag and smelter waste leftover from the Sharon Steel processing operations to the south. A decision by EPA on how to clean up the site is expected this spring, said Brad Johnson, Superfund branch manager for the state Division of Environmental Response and Remediation (DERR).
Petrochem/Ekotek: Operated as a used-oil refinery and reclamation facility from 1953 to 1988, this site at about 1600 North and 900 West, was contaminated with tons of hazardous wastes, such as solvents, volatile organic compounds, pesticides, dioxins and heavy metals. Though the drums and barrels of waste have been removed, the EPA and the DERR are still investigating the best way to clean up the contaminated soils and groundwater.
Portland Cement: Located near 1000 South and Redwood Road, this site contains about 500,000 cubic yards of cement kiln dust, which is highly alkaline and contaminated by heavy metals, and several hundred tons of chromium-bearing kiln bricks. Soil is also contaminated with heavy metals and is highly alkaline. Cleanup is "imminent," Johnson said.
Rose Park Sludge Pit: Contaminated by toxic wastes from industrial activity, this site near I-15 in Rose Park has been cleaned up and is being monitored regularly.
Sharon Steel: The state's largest Superfund site so far, the Sharon Steel site, contaminated with heavy metals from 61/2 decades of ore processing, consists of two units: the Sharon Steel property itself and the neighborhoods to the east and north. Soils in the neighborhoods are being cleaned up. The 10 million cubic yards of tailings on 270 acres near 7800 South and 750 West will either be capped with a protective layer of soil or will be removed.
UP&L/American Barrel: This 4-acre site near 600 West and South Temple contains soils contaminated by hazardous wastes generated from previous industrial operations, including a gasification plant, a utility pole treatment plant and barrel storage. The soils cleanup could begin this summer. Utah Power, which owns the property, has already spent $3 million on the cleanup, which could cost as much as $13 million.
Wasatch Chemical: Groundwater and soils are contaminated with solvents, pesticides, acids and other chemicals at this old chemical plant, near 2000 South and 700 West. Now owned by Entrada Industries, a subsidiary of Questar, the site is being cleaned up, with an innovative "in-situ vitrification" scheduled for the soils this fall.
Other Superfund sites in Utah are: the Defense Depot Ogden; Hill Air Force Base; Monticello Mill Tailings, Monticello, San Juan County; Monticello Radioactively Contaminated Properties, Monticello; Richardson Flat Tailings, near Park City; and the Tooele Army Depot (North Area).