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
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,
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.