Amy Choate-Nielsen: The danger down below: Cancer cluster raises questions about legacy of toxic waste in Utah soil

There's no telling when dirty land is really safe

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  • memountainbay SANDY, UT
    Sept. 1, 2011 9:38 p.m.

    My view...mining is when we undo the bonds that have been created by nature, creating good (minerals) and bad (tailings), the balance needs to be considered. We generally wantt o see the good in things so we see what business shows us, the value of the minerals, and generally we participate in the benefits of that capitalsim...until the consequences appear years later, in the form of filthy water, increased cancer rates, and spoiled land. Thank you DS for reminding us of the full stream costs of minng. We shoul pay for these costs at the front end of the cycle, when the extraction is producing value that we's like paying a deposit on those glass bottles.

  • Mom of Six Northern Utah, UT
    Aug. 22, 2011 11:15 a.m.

    Dumprake: I used to think that too, until I was effected by it personally. Just talk to any downwinder might walk away with a different perspective.

    Aug. 22, 2011 1:57 a.m.

    Thank you for writing this series; the story needs to be told. All people see of Kennecott now is the name Rio Tinto on the soccer stadium, (a giant PR spin). They need to know what went on in years past. I have found it interesting how Kennecott became so environmentally friendly when they started cleaning up and covering up their own mess so they could build Daybreak. Note to people of Daybreak: if you plant a vegetable garden, use a grow box! Thanks again D News for running this story.

  • corporatepolicies SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 21, 2011 11:11 p.m.

    This is the kind of local investigative journalism that is lacking in most local papers. Thank you for the informative piece. This is some of the best writing I've seen in this paper.

  • dumprake Washington, UT
    Aug. 21, 2011 10:11 p.m.

    what a dumb story, wasted space and time. environmental stories have an inglorious history of being phony, madeup nonsense.

  • perspicacious Salt lake city, Utah
    Aug. 21, 2011 6:34 p.m.

    Right on Desert Dweller! I think the most toxic thing we have ON our soil are the Waddoups, Valentines, Lockharts, and of course Hatch and Lee.

  • Quetzalcotl West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 21, 2011 3:42 p.m.

    Right across the property mentioned in the story there is new development by the UTA. A parking structure for a trax station was built there, and there are businesses planned there as well. I wonder if that soil was checked as well? I also wonder if the lead can spread in the dust created by the construction?

    I live a few blocks west of the Lisonbee's. I grow all my vegetables in planters off the ground due to my concern of contaminants in the ground. Kennecott has left us a great legacy.

  • Mom of Six Northern Utah, UT
    Aug. 21, 2011 12:51 p.m.

    The article mentioned cancer specificallly, but what about autoimmune disease? I would have never given soil contamination much thought until three members of my family suffered from three different types of autoimmune disease to which we had no family background or history of. Our neighborhood in Tooele County had a high incidence of autoimmune disease (6 people in a 1 block radius, those were people I knew about) mainly Type 1 Diabetes, Celiac Disease and Thyroid disorders, three of which my family are afflicted with....our solution was to move. Glad we did! Since moving locations (out of Tooele County), the markers for autoimmune disease also went down. Unfortunately, two of my children will never be the same again.
    I wish it was state law to have soils tested and homeowners aware of what is in the soil before building on or purchasing pre-existing homes. I didn't know until later that the Tooele Valley was once a superfund site, it would have changed where I chose to buy....definately not Tooele County.

  • desert dweller SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Aug. 21, 2011 12:14 p.m.

    you should be concerened about the politicians that let it happen and turn a blind eye to it.

  • brightness Taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 21, 2011 11:57 a.m.

    Another sad story of how we are not taking care of the earth and not respecting what she provides for us. Since the public is not fully informed about what types of contaminants from the mines are still flowing into the groundwater, it makes it look like the surface water is not feeding into the groundwater and the groundwater is not feeding the aquifer. As this unfolds, we will realize that the three levels of water are linked. I hope the public will understand how we are destroying the earth, without water, there will be no life, unfortunately, there will be continued development because state laws promote land use development.

  • sally Kearns, UT
    Aug. 21, 2011 11:23 a.m.

    After reading this article, I will have my soil tested. It is unfortunate that the home buyer has to check so many things before it is safe to purchase anything. The real estate sales folk just need to find a naive purchaser to dump their listing on so they can smile all the way to the bank.

  • Silly Rabbit Small Town, USA, UT
    Aug. 21, 2011 10:36 a.m.

    Wow Amy keep up the good work, what a sad but informative story I will read the rest as it comes out. Thanks for letting us know what is going on, as I was reading this I was thinking of the show Erin Brockovich Which seems to be right here in our backyard

  • Russ hartill SANDY, UT
    Aug. 21, 2011 2:53 a.m.

    After confirming that there is no proven connection between the cancer cluster and mining; after finding the EPA declared land clean; DN still is running a three part series claiming that questions are still being raised? Why the hit piece on our mining heritage? You make it sound like greedy prospectors prior to 1970 poured poison into rivers when in fact mother nature had been leaching naturally occurring lead and other metals into streams for centuries before any Mormon or Gentile ever entered the Salt Lake Valley. Mining is not some evil conspiracy to poison humanity; it is an honorable profession and a worthy heritage. Without men like Jesse Knight and even James Talmage, a mining geologist before becoming a Mormon Apostle, Utah would not have prosperity and the economic standing it has today.

    There's no telling when dirty misleading reporting is really safe, to paraphrase the lead-in to this DN hit piece on mining. UT mines need a good PR agency, because this piece is scandalous! When we dynamite smokestacks and backfill our history we forget the important contributions our mining pioneers gave us. And if we forget them, who will remember us?