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Bureau of Epidemiology

Environmental Epidemiology Program

Kennecott South Zone



Starting in 1863, early miners processed gold, silver, lead, zinc and copper ores, and erected many mills and smelters in the area. The primary landmark in the district today is the large, open-pit Bingham Canyon copper mine, which still operates today.

Historic mining and ore milling practices in the area included dumping waste rock and tailings into drainages and streams, or on flood plains and valley slopes. From the later part of the nineteenth century into the twentieth century, waterborne mine tailings eroded and migrated from the Oquirrh Mountains into area streams.

This migration resulted in contamination of Bingham Creek channel and an associated floodplain located between 3200 West Street and 2700 West Street, which is now a residential area. An investigaion was conducted to derermine the extent of the contamination in1990. The contmainat was subsequently cleaned up with the removal of more than 25 million tons of mining waste. The clean up was completed in 1999.

On September 3, 2008, the 1994 proposal to list the Kennecott South Zone site on the National Priorities List (NPL) was withdrawn.

A Public Health Assessment (PHA) was conducted for the Kennecott South site and surrounding area. The PHA was completed in 1996.

  • Public Health Assessment
    • The PHA evaluated the potential for long-term health impacts in the community.
    • Present and future conditions of soils in the South zone area are considered to pose no apparent public health concern because the contaminated soils have been sucessfully removed.