State air quality officials have approved more stringent regulations for BP Mineral Co. after a March 27 windstorm sent a cloud of dust from the company's tailings pond swirling above the Magna area.
Concentrations of fine particulates measured during that storm were twice as high as what is considered healthy, the Utah Bureau of Air Quality found.The copper company will install additional state-approved sprinklers and breach some of the interior dikes on the pond to ensure that more of its surface remains wet.
Bureau director Burnell Cordner said he also has recommended that the Utah attorney general issue of a "notice of violation" to the copper company for its removal of a pipe system that might have helped reduce the dust problem.
He said the agency last year ordered the installation of temporary pipes to allow tailings to be placed in dry areas. Those pipes were removed earlier this year.
"It's our theory that they needed our approval to pull the temporary pipes," Cordner said.
BP Minerals spokesman Frank Fisher said only two pipes were removed.
"Those areas are now covered with fresh tailings, so there was no reason to leave them out there," Fisher said.
Peter W. McCallum, manager of environmental quality for BP Minerals, said company officials are doing "everything we can to control windblown dust" from the 5,000-acre tailings pond.
Almost $4 million has been spent on dust-control measures during the past three years, and McCallum said work is beginning on a new $7 million system to help reduce the windblown tailings.