U.S. EPA Contaminated Site Cleanup Information (CLU-IN)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division

EPA Office of Research and Development's Office of Science Policy Mine and Mineral Processing Virtual Workshop Session 2 - Emergency Management

Sponsored by: US EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD)'s Office of Science Policy

Archived: Wednesday, October 9, 2019
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EPA's Office of Research and Development's Office of Science Policy and Center for Environmental Solutions & Emergency Response is sponsoring a 4-part virtual workshop series to address characterization, remediation, and response challenges at Superfund and legacy mining and mineral processing sites. Each virtual workshop will include a short lecture by various subject matter experts in their respective fields but will also allow ample time for the presenters to interact with the audience, including time for questions and answers as well as brainstorming and identifying concerns from stakeholders participating in each virtual workshop. If you have a mining reclamation or remediation site, this is the virtual workshop for you!

The second session will focus on emergency management and response actions at mine and mineral processing sites including: wildfire response and impacts to mine treatment infrastructure, response activities at Bonita Peak Mining District, uranium impacts on Navajo lands, and response elements at mineral processing sites (Mississippi Phosphates). The session will explore potential impacts in assessing risk to both human health and the environment. Speakers from various EPA Regions will discuss emergency management activities at both time-critical and non-time-critical response actions sites.

  1. Lily Tavassoli (RPM/manager Region 9)

    The Iron Mountain Mine Superfund Site is a 4,400-acre NPL site located in Northern California. Cleanup activities at the Site successfully capture, collect, and treat over 250 million gallons acid mine drainage per year from several major sources. Enforcement against the responsible party and EPA investment combined have provided for nearly $1B in cleanup over time. As a result, over six tons per day of heavy metals are prevented from entering the Sacramento River, which is the source of 20% of the State of California’s water supply and serves as critical habitat for the endangered winter-run Chinook salmon. The site has been impacted by a number of extreme weather events in the past, including flooding and fires that have severely damaged site infrastructure. In July 2018, the Carr Fire began over 5 miles from the Site and ultimately became the sixth most destructive fire in California history. Over the course of several days, over 90% of the site burned and an Emergency Response action was undertaken to extinguish a fire that had impacted the HDPE pipeline running into the Richmond Mine. Although there was damage to site infrastructure, the Site did not lose capture of acid mine drainage during the duration of the Carr Fire. Several factors were key to the success of the response activities at Iron Mountain Mine: utilization of EPA Emergency Response resources, close communication with stakeholders and vendors to ensure timely infrastructure repairs, coordination with the larger Carr Fire Incident, and a resilient site remedy that had adapted from previous emergencies and had performed robust emergency planning. Damage from the Carr Fire continues to impact the site and region, but adaptive management of the Superfund Remedy minimized long-term impact and mitigated all threats to remedy effectiveness.

  2. Tom Kady (ERT) — Response activities at the Mississippi Phosphates site.

    Abstract: Response activities at the Mississippi Phosphates site.
    Mississippi Phosphates Corporation (MPC) owned and operated a large-scale fertilizer manufacturing facility in Pascagoula, MS. The plant is bordered on the west by Bayou Casotte — an economically vital harbor on the Gulf of Mexico. Environmentally-sensitive coastal preserves and estuaries border the facility to the east. The company had a history of wastewater discharges resulting in large numbers of fish kills and the closing of Bayou Casotte. In 2014, MPC declared bankruptcy and ceased operations, ultimately leaving EPA to manage approximately 750 million gallons of wastewater stored on site. The wastewater was stored in nearly 400 acres of open ponds, ditches and gypstacks in varying degrees of compromised condition. The majority of wastewater approached pH 2 and contained elevated levels of phosphorus, fluoride, ammonia, and other contaminants. This presentation describes the actions taken to avoid a catastrophic failure of the pond complex in the short term and reduction of the wastewater footprint in the long term.

  3. Christoph Goss — Deere and Ault Consultants

    Abstract: What an EPA Responder Should Know About Mine Bulkheads
    It is common for inactive underground mines to have plugs that back up mine water in the workings. In some cases the plugs are unplanned collapses and in other cases they are concrete bulkheads designed to impound water. In either case, an EPA responder needs to be aware of the plugs and their condition. This talk will discuss the purpose of mine bulkheads, their effects on the groundwater, and how they can fail. We will have an interactive discussion about risks, both real and imagined, and end with some guidelines on maintenance, evaluation, and inspection.

  4. Terry Burton — (EPA R6 STL)

    Abstract: Response Activities on Uranium Impacted Tribal Lands
    Impacts from operations at former uranium mines have negatively affected the health and environment of several Native American communities in the American Southwest. As first responders for EPA, Region 6 On Scene Coordinators have provided multiple responses to mining-related issues on tribal and tribal-adjacent lands. This presentation will follow one such response at the homeowner scale, including a discussion of the characterization activities. Proper characterization leads to tangible objectives, which then provide opportunities for a successful outcome. The presentation will end by contrasting this successful response with the stunning scale of the abandoned uranium mines. The size of these mines (and their impacts) results in unintended consequences under a broad umbrella of environmental justice — an umbrella that incorporates human health, worship activities, cultural identity, historical distrust, and a community's collective pessimism for the future. The combination of these challenges is difficult to overcome, and will require the best that environmental professionals can offer.

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Lily Tavassoli, EPA Region 9 ( or 415-972-3146)
Lily Tavassoli is a Project Manager with EPA Region 9’s San Francisco office. For 10 years she has managed a variety of NPL sites- primarily large-scale abandoned mines. She holds a B.S. in environmental science, policy, and environmental economics from the University of California, Davis.

Tom Kady, EPA Environmental Response Team ( or 732-906-6172)

A photograph of Christoph M Goss, PhD, PE, F ASCEChristoph M Goss, PhD, PE, F ASCE, Deere & Ault Consultants ( or 208-331-9736)
Dr. Goss holds a BS in Engineering -Civil and a PhD in Mining and Earth Systems Engineering, both from the Colorado School of Mines. As a principal at Deere & Ault Consultants in Longmont, CO, his practice includes tunneling, underground mine design, and underground rehabilitation. Since 2000 he has worked on a variety of abandoned mines and water tunnels, evaluating and designing support rehabilitation and bulkheads.

Terry Burton, EPA Office of Research and Development ( or 214-665-7139)


A photograph of Jean BalentJean Balent, U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division ( or 202-566-0832)
Ms Balent is on the staff of the EPA's Technology Innovation and Field Services Division where she has worked to collect and disseminate hazardous waste remediation and characterization information since 2003. Ms Balent manages the Clean Up Information Network website and actively supports online communication and collaboration resources available to EPA. She formerly worked with the US Army Corps of Engineers Environmental Engineering Division in the Buffalo District. Ms Balent was also a member of the SUNY-Buffalo Groundwater Research Group where she constructed and tested large scale models of groundwater flow. Ms Balent has also conducted research relating to the Great Lakes, environmental remediation, and brownfields re-development. She holds a Bachelor's degree in environmental engineering from SUNY-Buffalo and a Master's degree in Information Technology from AIU.

James Rice, ICF International Inc. (
Mr. Rice is Senior Geologist at ICF with more than 30 years of experience in the environmental consulting industry. Mr. Rice has been involved in a wide range of environmental investigation, assessment and remediation projects for EPA, DOD, DOE and commercial clients using traditional and innovative tools and approaches. He currently provides technical support to EPA OSRTI with optimization and technology innovation and integration where he helps site teams improve characterization and remediation by applying best practices such as systematic planning, 3-dimensional visualization and analysis, high resolution site characterization and CSM development. Mr. Rice also develops and delivers technical training for several EPA courses including Incremental Sampling, Best Practices in Site Characterization through the Remedial Process, and High Resolution Site Characterization.

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Jean Balent
Technology Integration and Information Branch

PH: 202-566-0832 | Email:
Michael Adam
Technology Integration and Information Branch

PH: 202-566-0875 | Email: