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Superfund Program Implements the Recovery Act

Iron Mountain Mine

Redding, California

Site Description
Iron Mountain Mine was mined for iron, silver, gold, copper, zinc and pyrite from the 1860s through 1963.  As a result of the mining activities, annual rains sent toxic levels of copper, cadmium and zinc from the mine into the Sacramento River—a valuable commercial fishery and a major source of drinking water for more than 70,000 people in northern California.  In addition, the Sacramento River is designated as critical habitat for the endangered Winter Run Chinook Salmon and several threatened anadromous fish populations.

Cleanup Activities to Date
The EPA’s cleanup actions since placing the site on the National Priorities List in 1983 include construction of a wastewater treatment plant to treat acid mine drainage from the underground mines and the completion of a retention reservoir to control widespread contamination in the Slickrock Creek watershed.  As a result of EPA’s activities, more than 98 percent of all metals in the acid mine drainage are prevented from entering the environment.  Prior to EPA cleanup actions, Iron Mountain Mine was the largest discharger to surface waters in the nation, discharging more than a ton of toxic heavy metals per day into the Sacramento River.

Recovery Act Project Activity
EPA will use the approximately $20.7 million in Recovery Act funds to cut in half the time needed to dredge, treat and dispose of heavy metal-contaminated sediment located in the Spring Creek Arm of the Keswick Reservoir. This accelerated activity will take approximately 18 months to complete rather than the previously anticipated three years. EPA will construct pipelines and pump stations to move contaminated sediment from the Spring Creek Arm of Keswick Reservoir to a disposal cell scheduled to begin construction in May 2009. Removing these contaminated sediments will allow the Central Valley Project to produce $3 to $6 million of additional peak power per year. This additional power production will be possible because current operational constraints imposed to prevent contaminated sediment releases to the Shasta Dam and the Spring Creek Power House will no longer be needed.

FY2011 highlights include:

  • Construction work using Recovery Act funds was 100% expended in 4Q FY2011. The project continues using other appropriated funds.

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