MIDVALE, Utah – The Environmental Protection Agency hosted a ceremony Monday afternoon to recognize the city's achievements in cleaning up the former Midvale slag site, which used to be home to a large ore mining facility.
"From what I understand, we're like the fifth or sixth city in the nation to get this award,” said Phillip Hill, assistant city manager of Midvale.
Residents may recognize the dark mineral deposit slags in video from 2003 that once occupied the property more than a decade ago.
“So the property owner hired a private company who came in and with the direction of the EPA, DEQ, cleaned up the site, basically buried the slag materials and then put a clean cap cover over that, which is basically two feet of clean soil,” Hill said.
The EPA once considered the site one of the nation’s most contaminated places. It was put on the national priorities list in 1991.
Over the years, the city conducted intensive cleanup efforts. And now it's a thriving real estate and business development.
The EPA officially removed the property from the national priority list on Monday.
Dr. Brian Moench with Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment said he's skeptical about how toxins at the site were contained.
"We'd have to know some details about how this remediation was done to feel comfortable that it was that safe," Moench said.
Toxins found in the area include lead and arson metal deposits. Moench said he believes residents should be warned about what used to occupy the land before they buy or build homes.
“The potential for a family to dig in that soil, to plant a garden, trees and so forth that could be a potential source of contamination for that family,” he said.
The area is now known as Bingham Junction. City officials say it currently supports more than 2,000 jobs and has a tax base of more than $300 million.