UA SRP attends Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona, Agua Fria Community Festival to spread the Word about Mine Tailings

On October 10, 2009 a team of UA SRP personnel attended the Dewey-Humboldt Agua Fria Festival in Humboldt, Arizona to serve as a resource to the community regarding the newly designated Superfund site in their vicinity entitled: Iron King Mine and Humboldt Smelter Site.  Investigator and Associate Director, Raina Maier, Research Translation Coordinator, Monica Ramirez, and UA SRP Student Trainee, Sarah Hayes worked with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) to listen to community concerns and needs, distribute information regarding mine tailings, arsenic, lead, and risk assessment, and discuss the UA SRP research projects at the site.

Currently, Eric Betterton (UA SRP, Project 8) has set up a ten-stage air sampler to analyze the chemical composition of the air particulates by size fraction in the town of Humboldt, Arizona. Raina Maier, (UA SRP, Project 9) is also currently performing greenhouse studies to determine the phytostabilization potential of the Iron King mine tailings.  Drs. Betterton and Maier have provided EPA Project manager, Leah Butler, their methodologies and current results to incorporate into her Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study Report.

This community festival provided a great opportunity for the UA SRP to disseminate information regarding the research methodologies and results to community members, as well as to answer any questions the community had in  regard to the cleanup. Previously, the RTC attended a “Community Kick-Off” meeting (August 2008), where EPA R9 introduced them as part of the “research team”. Over 40 community members attended the meeting and were eager to learn more about the site’s remedial investigation and site characterization.  The UA SRP and Binational Center’s informational brochures: “What are Mine Tailings?”, "What is Arsenic?" and "Lead and Our Health" was distributed to the attendees.

It is anticipated that participating in community events and meetings will enhance individual empowerment and participation at the Superfund site. We are delighted to be working with the Dewey-Humboldt, AZ community, EPA and ADEQ in order to learn how we can better address their needs, and increase awareness regarding contaminants found at the site.