Amy Choate-Nielsen: The danger down below: In tiny town of Eureka, legacy of environmental abuse is lasting, and uncertain

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  • GoldieZ Eureka, UT
    Aug. 26, 2011 5:36 a.m.

    All too often, stories read wrong. When I know facts about something, and read it in the paper they seldom match! I have lost faith in newspapers for that reason, I always wonder what the truth is. This article needed reviewing by someone other than the EPA!

  • sheepherdersam WEST JORDAN, UT
    Aug. 23, 2011 7:06 p.m.

    Maybe the over funded, out of control bureaucracy known as the EPA, should cover the entire earth with eighteen inches of safe soil (rocks). After all the mountains, the streams, the oceans, the rivers,the cows, the pigs, the crops, the fish, the wildlife. what? even humans have been here an awful long time! Oh, and cover the unsafe earth with something that is safely extra terrestrial.Cause you aint going to find it here, it's all the same thing.
    Wake up!

  • shbrew EUREKA, UT
    Aug. 23, 2011 5:34 p.m.

    the story reads wrong it was not my boys saying that. it was what the town people whom they grew up around kept hearing as they were working for the contractor for the EPA. And as for the "old guy" walking around town he knows alot of the history of Eureka, Mammoth, Silver city , ect. The house that sunk into the hole... has bee filled and covered w/ rock. And I have been told over the yrs that the shafts arent just under this town they are far reaching .. makes ya wonder whats way under your house.

  • Kristin K Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 23, 2011 10:10 a.m.

    Who is responsible for the "Deseret News Graphic" showing 5 Superfund cleanup sites? You should have investigated a bit further where Green Bay, Wisconsin, is located.

    Aug. 23, 2011 12:17 a.m.

    Make the town unique, paint the rocks. Brown, green, every color of the rainbow.

    Is the building still there that sunk into the shafts below along the main road?

  • GoldieZ Eureka, UT
    Aug. 22, 2011 5:00 p.m.

    The EPA hired a lot of people that didn't know what they were doing. So many people here in Eureka are having problems with the their yards and houses, thanks to the fine work of the EPA. They were not our friends, they were here in Eureka to spend, spend, spend the tax payers money. And left a mess!

    Aug. 22, 2011 3:51 p.m.

    So, a tiny economically ill town emblematic of boom/bust natural resource extraction is sitting on a field of toxic lead mining slag, and many residents have near-toxic levels of lead in their bloodstream. A government agency moves in to address this, practically free of charge to the residents, and all that results in this news story and its comments are complaints. "(expletive) EPA" "The rock piles are ugly" "more of EPA's fine handywork". Are you people serious?

    I hope this is a misrepresentation of the average resident's views, or else they can just hand back the $78.5 million and keep inhaling that lead dust, hoping it doesn't destroy their health. Of all the bloated federal bureaucracies to bash, Superfund ain't one of them. This story didn't explain how Superfund would be much more effective if conservatives didn't strip funding from it every chance they got. There is a huge backlog of toxic sites created by private industry that Superfund has to deal with, and they are running out of money. But hey, I'll trade someone else's health to keep my taxes $5 lower a year.

  • Utah Girl Vernal, UT
    Aug. 22, 2011 12:46 p.m.

    @ Instereo. I understand what you are saying about small towns. I have been through Eureka UT, and as I said above, lived in (actually 7 miles outside of) Eureka NV for 16 years. It too has a 1A school, with 1 elementary and 1 Jr./Sr. High School. Nearest town is Ely, which is 77 miles away. Mining, farming and ranching are the industries in Eureka. The teachers are great, connections with colleges through online and satellite classes help many of the students complete much of the basics of college by the time they graduate. It's a place where you don't lock your doors, and many folks leave their keys in the ignition of their cars. The kids can go out on Halloween without fear. There is a high percentage of graduates who go on to college, with scholarships and grant money they've been awarded.

    So far the EPA has not done there what they are doing in Eureka UT. I hope they have some kind of plan to cover those unattractive rocks with soil and plants. Miners in the past were unaware of the health dangers of the chemicals used. Companies are now much more cautious.

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    Aug. 22, 2011 12:10 p.m.

    This article really shared nothing new and was incomplete in that data as well. Photos should have better shown the town rather than closeups of one guy walking around. What did the mayor have to say? And isn't Doug Wright from there, or his heritage? Get some more viewpoints. What did the guy restoring the bar have to say? He got a picture but no comment. How about a statement from the EPA on the project and containment vs cleanup? Does the State office of environmental quality have any comment? And any news on improvement of health levels and amount of lead now in 9 year old boys? This is just incomplete writing and I really feel like I've wasted time reading it. Problems there have been known and this article does nothing to say they have or haven't been fixed or that life is better or worse in Eureka.

  • DeltaFoxtrot West Valley, UT
    Aug. 22, 2011 11:45 a.m.

    More of the EPA's fine handywork. Another government entity started for the good of the people that has grown far too big for its britches.

  • brightness Taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 22, 2011 9:50 a.m.

    Some politicians want to defund the EPA when there are known mine tailing contamination sites that need to be cleaned before development is allowed on top of the sites. I'm guessing there are many more sites in UT that needs cleaning.

  • blueskyco Home Town, CO
    Aug. 22, 2011 8:43 a.m.

    Excellent photos. I am kind of speechless at the huge rock fields. It doesn't seem like a very pleasant solution to live with.

  • Instereo Eureka, UT
    Aug. 22, 2011 8:36 a.m.

    Eureka is a great place to live and raise your children. The schools are small but with the technology they have students can and do graduate with their Associates Degree. The Supt. Of schools teaches band and that band has won many awards even though as a 1A school it has to compete against much larger schools. There's a drama program, sports, and many other opportunities for students to participate. Virtually all students are involved in some form of extra-curricular activity. The town is safe. You know your neighbors. You live and let live in Eureka.

  • Adoptamine SANDY, UT
    Aug. 22, 2011 8:02 a.m.

    Mines of the Tintic District did NOT run out, give out, or exhaust themselves in 1965. Many area mines in that decade were finding gold ore that continues to await processing. The Burgin and Trixie Mines are just two that were primarily develoed after 1965. The inability to drain water below 400 feet stopped many of the mines from processing ore at that depth. Jesee Knight knew this and started a 22.000 foot drainage tunnel to tap the water and economically deliver ore to market. He did not succeed only due to his death and the subsequent scattering of his mine holdings. Eureka cannot revive itself with EPA policies that promote placing picture rock over mine dumps. "Eureka gray" is a nickname for the ugly bedrock that covers the hillsides today. Eureka was once a colorful example of a mining town that couldn't die. the EPA is wrapping it in a battleship gray coffin "for its own good." Several dozen mineral species were first identified from mines at Tintic. Today, the saga of Eureka is a lesson in how utterly contemptible these words are: I'm from the Government, and I'm hear to help,"

  • mssr DUGWAY, UT
    Aug. 22, 2011 7:34 a.m.

    The EPA destroyed that down with the encouragement of the DOGM. Sealing mines, tearing down headframes, setting alight shafts, etc.

  • suzyk#1 Mount Pleasant, UT
    Aug. 22, 2011 7:30 a.m.

    I found reading this article on Eureka, UT a sad one. I was picturing a bustling and productive town, even though small but unfortunately it is not like that anymore. I don't understand why they would build a town on top of those mines.Many, many lives have been uprooted, lost and will have health problems if they survive many years. What an unfortunate and sad situation. I'm concerned about those that still remain, surely they recognize the risk and yet they choose to remain. What a sad story.

  • Reasonable Person Layton, UT
    Aug. 22, 2011 7:27 a.m.

    "A bigger concern is how to keep the town financially alive"

    Unfortunately, the mining that built the town, also destroyed it.
    When the mines were closed, there was no reason for the town to exist.

    People "want" a better EPA solution in these cases, at the same time they're trying to shut down the EPA. We have to decide if we want to spend billions on a lost cause.

    The problem at Eureka, though, is the road that runs through it. It's not dead-ended like Ophir and Mercur.

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    Aug. 22, 2011 5:21 a.m.

    Eureka, UT has other dilemmas, such as being built right over a network of mine tunnels that some engineers believe pose a danger. Of course the economy is a huge issue, but the museum is a charming little place to visit, and usually there is an interesting memorabelia shop open in town. I have visited the area many times. We toured the remains of Knightsville, and then checked out its history in old ghost town books (something more commonly done by internet now). The whole Tintic Mining District is fascinating. I am sorry the residents are exposed to dangerous lead an arsenic levels; they have amazing tenacity to stay there. I hope a better solution that EPA action will be an option in the future.

  • My2Cents Kearns, UT
    Aug. 22, 2011 4:56 a.m.

    $78.5 million for 800 residents, it would have been cheaper to buy the property @ $98,125 per resident and close it off. Government has never been very good with math.

    Not only is there all this top soil toxicity, this whole town is on top of hundreds of mine shafts crossing under the whole town-site of Eureka, yet another crisis waiting to happen in sink holes and the collapse of mine shafts.

    Aug. 22, 2011 2:35 a.m.

    If Eureka Utah wants to bring people and the town back, they need to clean up the pollution. Lead, and arsenic are not tourist attractions.

  • Utah Girl Vernal, UT
    Aug. 21, 2011 11:12 p.m.

    Interestingly, there are at least 17 towns called Eureka in the US, in addition to several more such as Eureka Creek, or Eureka Springs, and others that are similar. There are at least 3 towns in Australia named Eureka, and about 5 in Canada. So, when a news article is entitled "In the tiny town of Eureka..." it helps to also put the state. :) We lived in Eureka NV for 16 years, and it was also built around lead and later silver and gold mining. The town has surged and ebbed, depending on the need for those minerals. It is also a very small town of less than 800 people, plus more in the surrounding valleys. Probably 1,200 to 1,600 in the entire county. Many of the historic buildings are still in use and have been renovated and restored. It's great when pieces of history are not lost.

    I don't know if the health issues there relate to mining, but I do remember there were several people who had cancer, young and old. Other illnesses such as lupus seemed to be at a high rate for such a small town.