May 2008

ASARCO agrees to remedy contaminated yards in Arizona

ASARCO agreed to continue contamination investigations and remove arsenic, lead and copper contaminated soil in Hayden and Winkleman, Arizona.

ASARCO has agreed to spend up to $13.5 million on yard cleanups. In addition, ASARCO is required to complete a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study to determine the full extent of soil contamination and identify cleanup techniques.

“This agreement outlines the process which will be used to clean up the legacy of waste left in Hayden and Winkelman,” said Keith Takata, director of the Superfund division for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region.

The EPA and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality will oversee all of ASARCO’s operations to ensure compliance with the agreement. The agreement further requires ASARCO to conduct additional cleanups, as necessary, ensure full and final completion of the work and to fully reimburse the EPA and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality for expenses related to the oversight.

The agreement will become effective upon approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, because ASARCO had filed for bankruptcy, and following a 20-day public comment period after publication of notice in the Federal Register.

The ASARCO Hayden Plant site is an active copper ore processing, concentrating and smelter facility. The ASARCO plant includes a crusher, concentrator, smelter and tailings impoundment areas. The EPA collected samples in Hayden and Winkelman after the EPA and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality discovered elevated levels of arsenic, lead and copper in previous sampling. In addition, ASARCO operates an overland conveyor that directs ore from the crusher to the mill building for processing while passing over some of Hayden’s residential streets.