Monday, 17 June 2024

EPA seeks public comment on Elem Colony cleanup plans

CLEARLAKE OAKS – The federal Environmental Protection Agency is inviting public comment on the next phase of its plan to clean up a portion of the Elem Indian Colony in Clearlake Oaks.

The EPA is putting out its engineering evaluation and cost analysis to clean up contaminated mine waste originally used in the 1970s to construct BIA 120, the primary access road to the Elem Indian Colony.

The mine waste, which originated from the Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine – now a federal Superfund site – is contaminated with unsafe levels of mercury, arsenic and antimony, officials reported.

This removal action is to ensure that Elem Indian Colony residents and their visitors are not exposed to the elevated levels of toxic metals that are present in the mine waste.

In 2006 the EPA carried out a cleanup on a portion of the colony, removing several older homes and replacing them with new ones, as Lake County News has reported.

In this latest proposed project, EPA’s preferred removal action alternative is “Alternative 2B,” which calls for reconstructing roadway and cover shoulders on BIA 120's entire length. It also calls for raising the roadway profile to prevent excavating mine waste.

Most of the work will not occur until June through August of 2010. Public comments are being accepted now and until Sept. 9.

Copies of the engineering evaluation and cost analysis and all supporting documents are located at the Lake County Library in Lakeport, Redbud Library in Clearlake, and the Live Oak Senior Center, located at 12502 Foothill Blvd. in Clearlake Oaks. The documents are available online at .

The public can send written comments postmarked no later than Sept. 9 to Rick Sugarek (SFD-7-2),

U.S. EPA, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, CA 94105.

For more information on this site, please contact Sugarek, remedial project manager, at 415-972-3151.

Dr. Dietrick McGinnis of McGinnis and Associates will review the documents on behalf of the Clear Lake Environmental Action Network (CLEAN) Superfund Technical Advisor Grant (TAG).

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