Workers can begin the environmental cleanup of the old Murray smelter site as early as July if city officials can mop up a puddle of paperwork this month.

Once crews move onto the job, they will begin removing contaminated soils and capping formerly hazardous areas with clean dirt.The city's plan for cleaning up the 141-acre smelter site also includes monitoring Little Cottonwood Creek for hazardous ground-water discharges.

But Murray officials also know they're going to have to move a lot more paper before work crews can start moving dirt.

City Council members met Tuesday to review and fine-tune a proposed ordinance establishing the "institutional controls" that will govern the cleanup.

Those controls provide a planning and zoning overlay for the old American Smelter and Refining Co. site that will determine what uses are acceptable once the site is redeveloped, said D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli, city chief of staff.

Hospitals, stores and movie theaters will be permitted. But single family homes or businesses that sell commercial or industrial equipment won't be allowed.

All that information also must be incorporated into a consent decree that will be finished within the next week or two and sent to the Environmental Protection Agency for final approval.

Once the EPA signs off on the decree, city officials intend to advertise for bids so the cleanup can begin by midsummer.

Under a unique arrangement with the EPA, Murray will be the "lead agency" responsible for voluntarily supervising the environmental cleanup.

In addition, the city also is beginning work on a conceptual plan that will map out the responsibilities of Murray, Intermountain Health Care, the Boyer Co. and other parties involved in smelter site redevelopment.

Investors and developers are expected to pour more than a billion dollars into the 141-acre site in coming years, constructing a major hospital as well as department stores, national-scale restaurants, a large movie theater complex and a light-rail station.

Formulating a conceptual plan to guide that development is a new wrinkle recommended Tuesday by Councilman John Rush.

He urged that the plan be developed immediately so it can be implemented "side by side" with the cleanup plan.

This all adds up to a lot of paperwork, said Pignanelli, but the city must finish the consent decree and a statement of work this month to keep the cleanup on schedule.

"I think we're in pretty good shape" in terms of meeting the timetable, said City Council Chairman Leon Robertson. "We're meeting again Friday so we can get the consent decree ready."

Former City Attorney Craig Hall, who recently left Murray to become the city attorney for South Salt Lake, has been hired on a part-time consulting basis to keep the project on track.

Hall has been the legal architect of the unique cleanup plan since its inception, and Murray officials were concerned his departure from the city might sidetrack the project at a crucial time.

Pignanelli said other development issues such as design, layout and open space will be handled once the cleanup is finished and developers come forward with specific construction proposals.