Homes built on mine tailings in Park City's Prospector Square are now officially considered safe, as far as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is concerned.
And Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, is commending Park City officials for the long, hard fight they waged to change the EPA's opinion, which he said would have given "an unfair bad rap" to the small resort town.Park City challenged an EPA ruling several years ago that proposed listing Prospector Square as an eligible hazardous waste site under the Superfund cleanup program.
Subsequently, Garn shepherded through Congress a bill saying that unless legitimate findings could justify Prospector Square's listing, it should be deleted.
After years of study and debate, the EPA has decided to support findings of a study by the Centers for Disease Control's Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry, which indicated there was no evidence of danger to residents from mine tailings.
Garn issued a statement Friday saying the EPA now concurs "that there is no evidence of exposure to toxic metals such as lead, arsenic or cadmium at levels believed to be harmful to residents."
Garn said the report also listed the following findings:
-Concern still exists about potential continued exposure to the soils there because of high metal content. However, no air quality or drinking water standards have been exceeded.
-Property that is effectively covered with topsoil can eliminate the potential problem of direct contact with tailings.
-Compliance with a Park City ordinance requiring soils with high metal content to be covered can ensure protection of public health.
Garn wrote Park City Mayor Hal W. Taylor this past week congratulating the city on winning its long fight "to preserve Park City's good reputation and protect the residents of your town."