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EPA to begin Jordan River Improvement Project

Release Date: 10/27/2008
Contact Information: Jennifer Chergo, 303-312-6601, Erna Waterman, 303-312-6762,

      Jordan River Improvements mark a final milestone in the cleanup of the Midvale Slag Superfund Site

      (Denver, Colo. -- October 27, 2008) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, in collaboration with the city of Midvale, today announced the start of a riparian improvement project along the Jordan River. This project is one of the final remedial requirements from the Midvale Slag Superfund Site Record of Decision for Operable Unit 2 (OU2).

      EPA’s goal for this project is to manage the Jordan River flows along the Midvale Slag Site in order to minimize bank erosion. Erosion of the riverbank along the site could lead to the deposition of heavy metals from the site into the river. The project involves the riparian corridor from 6400 South to 7800 South.

      Work will begin in October and is expected to continue into 2009. The Jordan River Parkway Pedestrian Trail may be closed for a few days to allow for the improvements. However, EPA expects minimal disruption to trail users overall.

      There are three main features to this project. The first feature is the stabilization of the existing, damaged sheet pile dam, a relic from Midvale’s past mine waste smelting operations. EPA contracted with JE Hurley, Inc. to stabilize the sheet pile dam by shaping and incorporating it into a new structure. The new structure will be a boulder structure that will gradually reduce flows through the area to minimize bank erosion. The new structure will have a boat chute and a pull-out area to accommodate kayakers and canoeists.

      The second feature of this project is the installation of spur dikes in the river. Spur dikes are flow-control structures designed to alter the flow of the river. Up to five dikes will be installed downstream from the new boulder structure to deflect flow away from the riverbank along the Midvale Slag Superfund Site to the center of the channel.

      The third feature of this project is bank stabilization. EPA awarded a grant to the Salt Lake County Division of Water Resources to prevent the river channel from meandering and eroding the soil cover and underlying mine waste along the Midvale Slag Superfund Site. Rock armor will be placed on the outside bank, and an aesthetically pleasing vegetative soil cover will be installed to strengthen the riverbank.

      EPA developed this river improvement design through a collaborative effort involving local agencies, federal agencies, community members, developers, and others. In 2007, EPA convened a stakeholder group comprised of representatives from these various groups to design and implement this project.

      The 446-acre Midvale Slag Superfund Site is located 12 miles south of Salt Lake City in the city of Midvale, with a small portion extending into the adjacent Murray City. The site is a former smelting facility on the Jordan River. Five separate smelters treated ores from Bingham Canyon and other mines at various times from 1871 to 1958. An adjacent mill operated until 1971. Investigations at the site showed groundwater and soils are contaminated with heavy metals.

      EPA listed the Midvale Slag Superfund Site on the National Priorities List, commonly known as the list of Superfund Sites, in 1991. After conducting investigations and developing cleanup alternatives, EPA issued two Records of Decision for the Midvale Slag Site. The riparian improvement project is one of the final elements to be completed, as required by the 2002 Record of Decision for Operable Unit 2, the southern portion of the site.

      For more information on the Midvale Slag Superfund Site: