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EPA holds public meetings to discuss soil sampling results taken in Hayden, Winkelman, Kearny

Release Date: 3/16/2005
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, (415) 947-4248

Photo of soil sampling     SAN FRANCISCO   During two public meetings March 16-17 in Winkelman and Kearny, Ariz., officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will announce that certain metals in soil from samples taken in October from areas in Hayden, Winkelman and Kearny do not present an immediate health threat to area residents.

    To ensure public safety, however, the EPA plans to conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine the extent and nature of levels of arsenic, lead and copper found in Hayden and Winkelman that were slightly above health-based screening levels. The results from the additional soil sampling, air monitoring and water sampling will help identify potential sources and determine whether any clean up is necessary.

    "Of the samples taken, we do not see an immediate health risk," said Keith Takata, the EPA's Superfund Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. "We believe further investigation is warranted in Hayden and in limited areas in Winkelman along the road."

    In October, the EPA, in coordination with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, sampled for 17 metals from over 200 public places and residences in Kearny, Hayden and Winkelman due to possible soil contamination resulting from nearby industrial activities.

Photo of conveyor belt in Hayden, AZ
    The sample results were compared to levels developed by Arizona to quickly evaluate and screen for possible health risks from soil and water contaminants. The health-based screening levels are specific to each metal and are set low to protect public health. For example, the level for arsenic is set at natural levels found in soil throughout the state.

    * Most of the 51 samples taken in Hayden are above the screening level for arsenic, lead was detected once slightly above the screening level, while copper had elevated levels in 29 of the samples.

    * Of the 69 samples taken in areas along the road in Winkelman, arsenic was detected above its screening level 16 times in the limited area along the road. Lead was found just over the screening level in three samples, and copper had elevated levels in seven samples.

    * Of the 89 samples taken in Kearny, arsenic was detected slightly above screening levels in only nine samples, lead was detect once above screening levels, and copper was not detected above screening levels.

    The EPA expects to have the work plan for the upcoming comprehensive investigation in Hayden and Winkelman available for public comment in April. The EPA does not intend to do further work in Kearny.

Photo of EPA's Mobile Command in Winkelman, AZ
    The EPA final sampling report is available for review at the Hayden Public Library and the Arthur E. Pomeroy Public Library in Kearny. For more information on the public meetings or for a copy of the fact sheet, contact Hector Aguirre, U.S. EPA, (415) 972-3238 or you may also leave a message at the 1-800-231-3075 EPA Superfund message line and the EPA will return your call.