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Posted on: December 24, 2019

EPA Update Iron King Mine/Humboldt Smelter

IKHS.Signs.Summer2020 1

September 16, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a new fact sheet to remind parents to talk to their children/teenagers about staying away from the dangerous smelter and mine properties. We will mail it to our mailing list (roughly 3,000 addresses).  This effort is to reinforce our messages from an October 2019 press release and fact sheetin addition to an article we wrote for the July 2020 Dewey-Humboldt Newsletter.


In June, we placed over 40 additional warning signs at or near the former smelter property. The signs supplemented 9 larger warning signs around the site that we installed earlier in 2019. We also added barbed wire to the front gate at the smelter to better-restrict access. In addition, we inspected the “Posi shell” covering we placed in 2019 to control dust at the former smelter property, and we determined it was in good shape.


Over the summer, we worked with the Town of Dewey-Humboldt to arrange for installing a large warning sign on the Town’s property near the 3rd Street overcrossing of the Chapparal Gulch. The installed sign is down the path a short distance from the street. The sign is to warn hikers that the trail eventually opens into a flood plain with toxic tailings. 


In June, the owner of the former Iron King Mine upgraded and added fencing around the mine pile. Last week, we installed 20 new small hazard warning signs along the new fence on the Iron King Road side of the former property. 


We continue to work on our feasibility study of options to clean up the contamination across the whole site. In June, we issued a reuse assessment of the former Humboldt Smelter property to summarize what we heard from the community about approaches to reuse the smelter plateau. The forthcoming feasibility study uses the information EPA collected in the remedial investigation. It will compare a variety of cleanup options to address the contamination across the site. Before completing the feasibility study early next year, we would like to provide an update to Town Council and the public. However, we may need to plan for a virtual update, given the COVID pandemic.

Warnings Signs Humboldt Smelter; 3rd Street Warning Sign; Iron King Mine Road Warning SignsSuperfund Site Contacts

July 22, 2020

In June 2020, EPA issued a reuse assessment of the former Humboldt Smelter property. EPA does not choose or pay for future land uses. However, we need to know what future land use the community might want. That way, we can see how our site cleanup options for the former smelter property can be compatible with the community’s reuse ideas. The ideas in the assessment were gathered over the past two years from key stakeholders and participants in EPA’s May 2019 workshop. This assessment summarizes the community ideas, describe how redevelopment has occurred at other Superfund sites and seeks to assist the community in thinking about how various redevelopment options could be implemented.

Community ideas for reuse include: open space, bike trails, walking trails, disc golf, recreational fields, recreational vehicle (RV) and camping, park space, amphitheater or event space, nature preserve and other economic development opportunities (such as businesses, waste treatment and solar panels).

June 18, 2020

In late May 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed around 40 additional warning signs at and around the former Humboldt Smelter property. These smaller signs are mounted to the new fencing and on posts in a line across where the tailings flood plain. These are in addition to the larger signs we added in 2019 (see December update). They warn of chemical and physical hazards in these areas. 

We placed these additional warning signs:

In addition, EPA also performed work at the front gate of the smelter to limit access. At the front gate, we added barbed wire to the top and added gravel underneath.

EPA also inspected the “Posi-Shell” covering we place in 2019 to control dust at the smelter property (see December update), and we determined it is in good shape.

April 7, 2020

In late 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed fencing at the former Humboldt Smelter property to limit public access.  EPA continues to work with the owner of the former Iron King Mine property to upgrade and add fencing.  We ask the public to follow warning signs and stay away from the mine and smelter properties

In early 2020, EPA focused on the study of options to clean up the contamination, called a “Feasibility Study.”  This study uses the information EPA collected in the remedial investigation, which was a comprehensive evaluation of sampling data and information about the nature and extent of contamination.  The Feasibility Study will also use information about approaches to reuse the smelter plateau, collected during the May 2019 community brainstorming workshop.

EPA was planning a trip to Dewey-Humboldt.  However, we continue to adjust to the evolving COVID-19 situation. EPA is taking necessary steps to ensure that decisions about ongoing cleanup activities at Superfund sites are made with the health and safety of communities, EPA staff, and contractors as the priority.  As a result, we are postponing in-person public meeting events to reflect current COVID-19 guidance from federal, state, tribal and local officials. 

In the meantime, we have updated EPA’s Iron King Mine/Humboldt Smelter site webpage.  Please contact EPA with any questions using the contacts on our webpage.

Iron King Mine and Smelter Superfund
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