STOCKTON, Utah (ABC4) – Cleanup finally began at the Jacob’s Smelter superfund site, over 20 years after the EPA determined the area was hazardous.
73,000 tons of lead and arsenic contaminated soil stretches 150 acres in Stockton, with areas reaching dangerously high amounts concentration.
“The threshold is about 3,000 milligram per kilogram and there are hotspots here that are close to 150,000 milligram per kilogram for lead and that’s a real concern,” executive director of Utah’s Department of Environmental Quality Kim Shelley said.
But now, after over two decades of being identified as a hazardous superfund site, the area is finally getting cleaned up.
“That’s good it is cleaned up for future residents and children to be playing out here,” Stockton Mayor Nando Meli said.
The amount of toxic materials in the soil poses a threat to the community, especially kids.
“There’s no safe levels of lead and children are most susceptible to the impact so they can experience developmental delays learning disabilities etc.,” Shelley said.
But thanks the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the state received millions in federal funding to make this soil is safe again.
“$12 million here in the first wave of funding will be transformation for this community,” regional administrator for region eight of the Environmental Protection Agency KC Becker said.
But it’s a long process to get this site clean.
“Contractors will be hired to come and remove a lot of the soil replace it with clean soil add native grasses making it safe for kids and and wildlife,” Becker said.
The cleanup is expected to last until spring or late summer of next year.
Once safe, Stockton hopes to expand and develop the area. However, before that happens there will be testing and evaluations before any development happens to ensure safety