On November 2, 2016, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) held two community meetings at the Hayden Senior Center to provide updates about the ASARCO Hayden Plant Superfund site in Hayden, Arizona. The ASARCO Hayden Plant is located 50 miles northeast of Tucson, Arizona. It neighbors the two towns of Hayden and Winkelman. The site includes an active copper smelter, a concentrator, and tailings facilities. Approximately 100 years of smelting activity at the site have deposited lead, arsenic, and copper into the soil, water, and air. The site is currently administered through an Administrative Settlement Agreement and Administrative Order on Consent between the USEPA, ASARCO, and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. These entities are conducting research and planning remediation efforts. Public meetings are held to inform the community about the results of their studies and keep them informed on any accomplishments.
University of Arizona Superfund Research Program trainee, Tania Rodríguez, attended the community meeting. Representatives from USEPA and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) presented findings from blood and urine samples collected in 2015 from community members. The blood samples were tested for lead and the urine samples for arsenic. USEPA and ATSDR also presented forthcoming projects that included a continuance of blood and urine testing and implementation of a lead base paint abatement program. Rodríguez said of her experience, “Attending the meeting made me recognize the relevance of including all sectors of the community in this type of study, and the importance of communication with the public.”