Contact Us


All News Releases By Date


EPA proposes Buena Vista Mine in San Luis Obispo County for national Superfund status

Release Date: 9/23/2004
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano, Press Office, 415/947-4307

     SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed to designate the Klau/Buena Vista Mine outside Paso Robles, Calif. as a federal Superfund site, which would allow the agency to address the long-term cleanup of mercury contamination.

    Today's announcement begins a 60 day public comment period on the proposed listing.  To comment on the proposal, contact Dawn Richmond at 415/972-3097 or email her at

    The EPA will now begin further assessing the nature and extent of mercury in soil and water at the site, which consists of two abandoned mercury mines on adjacent properties along a ridge of the Santa Lucia Range of mountains.  For years, mercury has leached off the site and contaminated local waterways, including the north fork of Tablas Creek and several nearby ponds and reservoirs.  State and local authorities have numerous health advisories in place warning anglers of eating mercury-contaminated fish from waterways impacted by the mine.

     "Mercury from this site has contaminated valuable local ecosystems for too long," said Keith Takata, director of the U.S. EPA's Superfund program in San Francisco. "Adding the Buena Vista Mine to the EPA's Superfund list ensures that we will have the funding, resources and regulatory authority necessary to clean up this site."

    The EPA removed 114,000 cubic yards of contaminated materials from the drainage channel in 2000 to prevent immediate health threats to human health and then environment.  Contaminated materials stored on site are temporarily capped and will be addressed in the site's long-term cleanup.

    The mine was one of 14 new sites proposed and two finalized today as federal Superfund status.  There are 1,244 Superfund sites nationwide, and 98 in California.

    The Buena Vista and adjacent Klau Mine operated from 1868 through 1970 mining mercury and processing ore.