The University of Arizona Superfund Research Program was on hand once again for the annual Agua Fria Festival in Dewey-Humboldt, AZ. The 107th annual festival was held October 8-9, 2011. Dewey-Humboldt is the site of the Iron King Mine and Humboldt Smelter Superfund site, where the contaminants of concern are primarily arsenic and lead in the mine tailings.
Research Translation Coordinator Dr. Sarah Wilkinson and UA personnel were on hand to listen to community concerns and answer questions; to distribute informational materials regarding mine tailings, metals, and water; and to provide information and updates on UA SRP projects in the area. We also enjoyed the local entertainment and food!
Associate Director Dr. Raina Maier and Dr. Todd Camenisch met with Julie Schrenier, an aide for the office of US Representative Paul Gosar. They informed her about the work the UA SRP is doing in the area, and gave her a tour of the field site on top of the mine tailings.
Ongoing projects in the area include a phytostabilization trial (Maier) which will assess whether a plant cap can stabilize metal contaminants in mine tailings. Dr. Eric Betterton is using air samplers to determine whether wind-blown dust from the tailings contains metals. Graduate student Monica Ramirez-Andreotta is performing and greenhouse study and working with local residents to determine the metal content of home-grown vegetables. An upcoming study is the Metals Exposure Study in Homes (MESH), a pilot study to understand if contaminant metals are entering homes and bodies, and if they are, to examine the pathways by which metals may be entering the home and exposing residents. The study will focus on homes with children in proximity to the mine tailings.
In was another great year at the festival – a great opportunity to meet the community, learn about their needs, and empower them with information!