Field Sites

The complex nature of hazardous contamination issues makes it extremely difficult to solely conduct investigations in a laboratory or greenhouse. An added layer of complexity is the multiple disciplines required and the need to incorporate community viewpoints into remediation solutions. As a result, the University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) has prioritized focus on transdisciplinary field research to test innovative solutions. 

1. Iron King Mine and Humboldt Smelter Superfund Site (Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona)

The UA SRP has a number of field projects in the Dewey-Humboldt area, a community about 85 miles north of Phoenix and 12 miles east of Prescott, Arizona. Dewey-Humboldt is home to the Iron King Mine and Humboldt Smelter Superfund Site, which was added to the US Environmental Protection Agency's National Priorities List in 2008. Issues of concern at the site include: wind-blown dust; metal contamination from mine tailings; high levels of naturally-occurring arsenic in soil and groundwater; and residents’ exposure to these contaminants.

Partners:

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, US Environmental Protection Agency, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, Arizona Department of Health Services, Town of Dewey-Humboldt, Cooperative Extension Yavapai County, and Coalition of Dewey-Humboldt.

Ongoing Projects:

 


Research Project 4: Toxicological Impact of Mine Tailings Dust on Developing and Adult Lung

 

 


Research Project 1: Prediction and Properties of Airborne Dust Arising from Mining Operations

 


Research Project 3: Phytostabilization Technology for Mining Wastes

 


Core B Research Translation:

Expanded Gardenroots - A Citizen Science Garden Project
Organizations Working on Environmental and Health Issues in Hayden and Winkelman, Arizona.

 


Core C Community Engagement Core: 

Voices Unheard
Documenting the Human Experience of Living Near Arizona Superfund Sites

2. ASARCO Hayden Plant Superfund Alternative Site (Hayden-Winkelman, Arizona)

Our field project in Hayden-Winkelman, Arizona focuses on airborne dust due to mining activities. The ASARCO Hayden Plant Site is 100 miles southeast of Phoenix, Arizona and 50 miles northeast of Tucson, Arizona and is a Superfund Alternative site. The site consists of industrial areas including the ASARCO smelter, concentrator, former smelter (Kennecott), and mine tailing facilities. Contamination at the site is due to historical smelting and processing activities as well as ongoing operations. 

The UA SRP Project 2 (Brusseau) and Research Translation COre participate in regular transdisciplinary team conference calls with our stakeholders to discuss potential health issues at this site. 

Partners:

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, US Environmental Protection Agency, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, Arizona Department of Health Services, and Cooperative Extension Gila County, Hayden-Winkelman mayors, superintendent, and other local leaders. 

Ongoing Projects:

 


Project 4: Prediction and Properties of Airborne Dust Arising from Mining Operations
 

 


Core B Research Translation: Partnering with various stakeholders
Organizations Working on Environmental and Health Issues in Hayden and Winkelman, AZ

3. Gold King Mine Release Site (Navajo Nation, Arizona and New Mexico)

The Gold King Mine spill occurred on August 5, 2015, near Silverton, Colorado, the UA SRP responded to calls for mining and exposure expertise. Tribal community members along the impacted waterways have special concerns about the safety of using the contaminated water for personal use as well as for watering crops and livestock. In response to such questions and concerns, the Community Engagement Core worked with community members, UA SRP collaborators, and UA SRP investigators to develop diverse outreach products, media interviews, to answer community concerns, and to testify for congressional panels.

Partners:

Navajo Nation, Navajo EPA, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Shiprock Chapter, Tó’ Bee NihiDziil, Navajo Nation Community Health Representatives, Northern Navajo Medical Center, Diné College, UA Cooperative Extension, Northern Arizona University, and Fort Lewis College.

Ongoing Projects:

 


Core C Community Engagement Core: 
Working with various stakeholders to provide support regarding ongoing field research, outreach, and training. 

 



Core C Community Engagement Core: 
Educational Modules - Mining on Tribal Lands in Arizona

4. Monument Valley Processing Site UMTRA (Navajo Nation, Arizona)

The UA SRP is working at this site to address groundwater contamination due to uranium. The Monument Valley Processing Site is located on the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona, which is approximately 15 miles south of Mexican Hat, Utah. A uranium-ore processing mill operated at the site from 1955 to 1968. In 1978, the US Congress passed the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act (UMTRA) initiating cleanup at this site.

Partner:

Department of Energy

Ongoing Projects:

  Project 2: Attenuation and Remediation of Groundwater Contamination from Hardrock Acid-Mine Drainage in the Semiarid Southwest
  Core B Research Translation: Research translation of field results to Department of Energy

5. Completed Projects

 

Metals Exposure Study in Homes in Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona (2012-2015)
This completed project assessed the exposures of residents to metals, specifically children ages 1-11 years.
 
Gardenroots - The Dewey-Humboldt Garden Project (2008-2012)
This completed project worked with Citizen-Scientists to determine the levels of metals in their home-grown vegetables.