Dr. Eric Betterton, principle investigator with the University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) and Dr. Sarah Wilkinson, UA SRP Research Translation Coordinator, traveled to Region 9 EPA Headquarters in June to present recent studies on aerosols that are generated by mining activities to Remedial Project Managers and toxicologists with an interest in mining sites.
Dr. Betterton’s presentation, “Characterizing Atmospheric Aerosols from Mining Operations,” described his work on size-resolved chemical characterization of dust. He described the various cutting-edge instruments that are used to collect, measure, fractionate by size, and analyze dust for contaminants of concern. His studies found that dust generated from mining and smelting activities near the Asarco Hayden Plant in Hayden and Winkelman, AZ is contaminated with arsenic and lead in both fine and coarse dust fragments. This work was recently published in Water, Air, & Soil Pollution (http://www.springerlink.com/content/v51382427h158700/.) With this technology in hand, Dr. Betterton described the next steps to begin resolving airborne dust by size at the Iron King Mine and Humboldt Smelter Superfund site in Dewey-Humboldt, AZ.
Aerosols have typically not been thoroughly characterized at mining sites, so EPA and UA SRP personnel engaged in lengthy discussions regarding shared interests in working at the Asarco site as well as the Iron King Mine and Humboldt Smelter Superfund site, and discussed potential collaborations. The meeting was an excellent opportunity to share research findings from the UA SRP program and to strengthen our relationship with our Regional EPA colleagues.
The event was hosted by Catherine Brown, Remedial Project Manager at EPA.