Federal and state pollution tests confirm that Park City does not have a serious problem from the Prospector Square mine tailings, says City Attorney Craig Smith.
After years of concern and allegations, Park City seems to have won a clean bill of health.Results were announced this week after a year and a half of testing air and water quality. The testing was by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Utah Health Department and the U.S. Geological Survey.
"The results were mostly good," Smith said. "Generally the air quality was found to be very excellent.
"We had a couple of incidents of dust released from the tailings into the air. But the levels were very low."
In fact, he said, the lead levels in the air are higher in Salt Lake City because of autos that burn leaded fuel.
"The highest level of lead released into the air on any occasion (in Park City) was .006 of the ambient air standard for lead. So that was very low. . . . I think it shows we have real good air quality."
Because of the blowing dust that did show up, Park City has asked owners of one tract of non-residential, non-commercial land to put on a soil cap, to prevent more tailings from wafting around. The owners agreed, he said.
The cap will supplement a soil cover that was put over most of the Prospector Square region about two years ago.
More than a dozen wells were drilled to test water quality in all seasons. "We only had one incident where we had mineral levels above the safe drinking water standards," Smith said.
Because of that elevated reading in cadmium, Park City will require that no wells be drilled in the Prospector Square area for culinary water or other human use. There are none there now.
The USGS checked for a link between the Prospector Square aquifer and that at Park Meadows, where the city gets its water supply. "And the test did not demonstrate a connection with that aquifer," he said.