BLM closes parcel of public land on Great Salt Lake due to hazardous waste

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TOOELE COUNTY, Utah – Bureau of Land Management officials are closing an area of public land near a magnesium plant after it was discovered waste water with a pH equivalent to battery acid was found flowing onto the land.

The closure impacts about 20 acres of land located near the US Magnesium Rowley Plant in Tooele County on the west shoreline of the Great Salt Lake.

The closure is to protect the public from exposure to “acidic liquid waste-hydrogen chloride-from the magnesium production facility,” according to a press release from the Bureau of Land Management Salt Lake Field Office.

The first phase in remediation is construction of a fence around the land to keep people, livestock and wildlife from coming into contact with the hazardous waste. The next phases will require the company to address the cause of the release, how they plan to control access to the area of the spill and what they will do in the case of any future release.

“This closure and fence line is crucial to protect the public from coming into direct contact with the highly-acidic liquid and affected soils surrounding the spill area,” stated Rebecca Hotze, Salt Lake Field Office Manager for the BLM, in the release.

Signs will be placed every 150 feet along the fence to notify the public of the issue. The area west and north of the fence line will remain open to motorized vehicles.