NPL Site Narrative for Jackpile-Paguate Uranium Mine
JACKPILE-PAGUATE URANIUM MINE
Laguna Pueblo, New Mexico
The Jackpile-Paguate Uranium Mine site is located on Laguna Pueblo about 40 miles west of Albuquerque in Paguate, Cibola County, New Mexico. The facility is located in an area of canyons and arroyos to the east of the village of Paguate. The property on which the former uranium mine is located is approximately 7,868 acres in size. Approximately 2,656 acres of this property were disturbed and contained three open pits, 32 waste dumps and 33 proto-ore stockpiles.
The mine was operated by Anaconda Minerals Company, a division of Atlantic Richfield Company. Mining operations were conducted from 1953 through March 1982. During the 29 years of mining, approximately 400 million tons of rocks were moved within the mine area and approximately 25 million tons of uranium ore were transported via the Santa Fe Railroad from the mine to Anaconda's Bluewater Mill, approximately 40 miles west of the site.
Primary site contaminants include uranium (U-234, U-235 and U-238) chromium, cobalt, manganese, vanadium and zinc. There are high concentrations of U-238 in surface water immediately downstream of the mine.
Potential Impacts on Surrounding Community/Environment:
Surface waters of the Rio Paguate and in the Paguate Reservoir contain elevated levels of Isotopic Uranium. Fishing has been documented at the reservoir and down stream in the Rio San Jose. The levels of Isotopic Uranium could have an impact on Traditional/Cultural and Ceremonial uses of surface water bodies below the convergence of the Rio Paguate.
Response Activities (to date):
The Pueblo of Laguna, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Anaconda/ARCO entered into an agreement for site cleanup in 1986. To date reclamation has been primarily the covering of mine waste and contouring. In June 1995 the Jackpile Reclamation Project was officially completed. In September 2007, a Record of Decision (ROD) Compliance Assessment for Jackpile-Paguate Uranium Mine was performed to determine if the post-reclamation had met the requirements of the Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision (ROD). This report concluded that reclamation of the mine was still not complete.
Need for NPL Listing:
Releases from the mine are still occurring despite the reclamation of the surficial mine areas. The Pueblo of Laguna asked the EPA to consider the site for the NPL. The EPA has explored other options in lieu of listing with the Department of Interior for site cleanup; however no other alternate mechanism to address these releases has been identified. The EPA received a letter of support for placing this site on the NPL from the tribe.
[The description of the site (release) is based on information available at the time the site was evaluated with the HRS. The description may change as additional information is gathered on the sources and extent of contamination. See 56 FR 5600, February 11, 1991, or subsequent FR notices.]
For more information about the hazardous substances identified in this narrative summary, including general information regarding the effects of exposure to these substances on human health, please see the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) ToxFAQs. ATSDR ToxFAQs can be found on the Internet at ATSDR - ToxFAQs (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/index.asp) or by telephone at 1-888-42-ATSDR or 1-888-422-8737.