Public Health Assessment on Elizabeth Mine Site in Strafford, Vt., for Public Review and Comment

Tuesday, June 22, 2004
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The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, today released a public health assessment on the Elizabeth Mine site in Strafford, Vt., for public review and comment.

ATSDR finds that no harmful exposures currently exist at the site and classifies current and future exposures at the Elizabeth Mine site as posing no apparent public health hazard. The public health assessment found that potential current and future exposures to groundwater, on-site surface soil, surface water, sediment, and fish pose no apparent public health hazards.

The public health assessment characterizes past exposures at the site as posing a public health hazard because one residential well (designated as well No. 3) was found to contain metals at levels that could be harmful to people living at the residence. ATSDR concluded that prolonged exposure to metals in the well could result in adverse health effects. As a result, well No. 3 was closed to prevent current and future exposures.

ATSDR recommends the following:

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, and site owners should conduct site cleanup and investigations as proposed by EPA.
  • Children should not play on or near the site's tailings piles. Signs should be posted to alert community members that this area and the unpaved road near the tailings piles should not be accessed.
  • Annual lead testing of children should continue as a preventative measure.

Beginning in 1793, the mine was used for iron ore and iron sulfate extraction operations, and in 1830 copper mining began at the site. Most of the underground copper mining occurred from 1942 until 1958 when the mine closed. The 1,400-acre site was added to the National Priorities List in June 2001 and contains open pit mines, extensive underground workings (mine shafts and adits), three tailing piles and several buildings.

Copies of the public health assessment are available for review and comment through July 16, 2004, at the following repositories:

Norwich Public Library
368 Main Street 227
Norwich, VT 05055

The Strafford Town Office
Justin Morrill Highway
Strafford, VT 05072

EPA New England Records Center
One Congress St.
Boston, MA 02114

Comments on the public health assessment must be made in writing. Mail comments to
Chief, Program Evaluation, Records and Information Services Branch
1600 Clifton Road, N.E. (MS E-60)
Atlanta, GA 30333

Comments received during the public comment period will be logged in to the ATSDR administrative record for this health assessment. Comments received, without the names of individuals who submitted them, and ATSDR responses to the comments will appear in an appendix to the final public health assessment. Names of those who submit comments, however, will be subject to release for requests made under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

For more information, community members can contact Environmental Engineer Lisa Hayes or Community Involvement Specialist Dawn O'Connor, toll-free, at 1-888-422-8737. Regional Representative Gary Perlman also may be contacted at 617-918-1492. Callers should refer to the Elizabeth Mine site in Strafford, Vt.

ATSDR, a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, evaluates the human health effects of exposure to hazardous substances. Established by Congress in 1980 under the Superfund law, ATSDR conducts public health assessments at each of the sites on the EPA National Priorities List, as well as other sites when petitioned. Headquartered in Atlanta, ATSDR is staffed by more than 400 health professionals including epidemiologists, physicians, toxicologists, engineers and public health educators.

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Related News Releases For Orange County, Strafford,, Vermont

Release Date:  Thursday, January 22, 2004
ATSDR will hold a public availability session Jan. 28 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in South Strafford, Vt., to address community health concerns potentially related to the Elizabeth Mine Site.

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Page last reviewed: June 22, 2004