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Bureau of Epidemiology

Environmental Epidemiology Program

Eureka Mills

gemini mine

Introduction:
The Eureka Mills Superfund Site is located in the East Tintic Mountains approximately 80 miles southwest of Salt Lake City in Juab County, Utah. The city of Eureka is part of Utah's historic Tintic Mining District. Eureka was founded in 1870 upon the discovery of a high-grade mineralized outcrop containing silver and lead, as well as other minerals including gold, copper and arsenic. The former mining sites are along the southern and western boundary of Eureka City, and many are next to residential areas.

The mining and milling activities that took place in the area between 1870 and 1965 left high levels of heavy metals in
the soil. Including elevated levels of antimony, arsenic, cadmium, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, thallium, vanadium, and zinc were also discovered. Public health interest in the Eureka site began in July 2000, when elevated metal levels were found in residential soil by the Utah Departmetn of Environmental Quality (UDEQ). Cleanup began in 2001, and the site was placed on the Superfund National Priorities List in 2002.

In 2001, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and UDEQ cleaned-up approximately 75 residential areas, clean-up activities continued through 2011 when all impacted properties were addressed. Along with residential properties, cleanup activities also focused on mine waste piles and ATV trails in Eureka.

After the discovery of elevated lead in residential soils in Eureka City, an Afebcry for Toxic Substabce and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Exposure Investigation was conducted. Beginning in August 2000, the investigation followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s blood lead testing protocol and concluded that children living in Eureka City are 10 times more likely to have elevated blood lead levels than other Utah children. The Utah Department of Health and Central Utah Public Health Department began holding free blood lead testing in 2000. Blood lead testing continued through project completion in 2011.

Documents:
A Public Health Assessment (PHA) was conducted for the City of Eureka and surrounding area. The PHA was completed in 2005.

  • Public Health Assessment
    • The PHA evaluated the potential for long-term health impacts in the community.
    • Based upon the available data regarding soil, air and water contamination, the EEP determined the Eurkea Mills site to be a public health hazard (ATSDR health hazard category B) because of the elevated levels of arsenic, lead, and thallium found in residential and non-residential soil.
    • Children living in Eureka and surrounding areas should have their blood lead levels checked.