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Elizabeth Mine (Copperas Factories Area)
Strafford/Thetford, Vermont

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Site Description

The Elizabeth Mine site is an abandoned copper and iron sulfate mine located in the towns of Strafford and Thetford, VT. The 970-acre site is south of Vermont Route 132 along the West Branch of the Ompompanoosuc River. Mining and ore processing activities occurred at the site from 1820-1968. EPA is addressing the site through both short-term and long-term cleanup actions.

Current Site Status and Cleanup Actions to Date

  • In 2002, EPA started a non-time critical cleanup action that focused on controlling waste sources from two tailing impoundments and rock/heap leach piles.
  • EPA conducted a time-critical short-term action from 2003-2005 to stabilize parts of the tailing dam that were considered to be at risk of collapse.
  • In 2006, EPA selected a long-term cleanup plan for the site.
  • From 2006 to 2008, EPA implemented several parts of the non-time critical action. These parts included a surface water and shallow ground water diversion system for the two tailing impoundments, and the grading and stabilization of the parts of the tailing dam not included in the time-critical action.
  • In 2007, EPA began the design for the long-term cleanup action that includes five major parts, including the Copperas Factories and Lord Brook source areas.
  • In 2008, EPA completed the design for the Copperas Factories area of the site that represents a threat to human health due to lead contamination.

Current Funding Status

  • In Fiscal Year 2008, EPA obligated approximately $1.5 million for cleanup activities tied to soil contamination in the Copperas Factories area.
  • Parts of the non-time critical action, including the cover system for two tailing piles and the relocation of a third, were not funded in Fiscal Year 2008.
  • To date, EPA has obligated approximately $15 million for cleanup activities at the site.

For more information on this site, please read the Elizabeth Mine site fact sheet (http://yosemite.epa.gov/r1/npl_pad.nsf/701b6886f189ceae85256bd20014e93d/2281487131782426852569e400719bbe!OpenDocument) on the Region 1 Superfund web page.

Key Accomplishments

  • Implemented a time-critical short-term cleanup action from 2003-2005 to stabilize the tailing dam to avoid a potentially catastrophic release of tailing into the West Branch of the Ompompanoosuc River
  • Selected the long-term cleanup plan for the site in 2006
  • Implemented cleanup actions as part of the non-time critical action from 2006 to 2008
  • Obligated funding to begin the cleanup of the lead contamination at the former Copperas Factories in 2008


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