Georgetown mine site remediation completed
SILVER CITY – Environmental remediation at the Georgetown Mine Site in the Silver City Ranger District of the Gila National Forest is complete after a month and a half.
Environmental remediation included the cleanup of six abandoned mining areas northeast of Bayard and Santa Clara in Grant County on Forest Service administered land along Georgetown Road.
The aim of the remediation was to reduce potential threats to human health and the environment left by past mining activities. Most of the large mines in the surrounding area are on patented mining concessions owned by private owners and have not been included in the remediation.
After:Doagy Fire content; Johnson Fire adds more than 7,000 acres in Gila National Forest
The Georgetown mine site consisted of small scattered prospecting pits, trenches, galleries, and associated mining waste piles. Laboratory analysis of several samples taken from the heaps revealed elevated concentrations of arsenic and lead. The open and unfenced wells also presented a physical hazard to visitors to the forest.
The forest service hired ECM consultants to carry out the remediation. Construction activities began on April 12, 2021 and ended on May 20.
After:Checklist for Responsible Enjoyment of the Gila National Forest
Construction activities included the use of heavy equipment to excavate and consolidate mine wastes in a technical depot. The deposit consisted of a cover of three feet of clean soil and revegetation with a mixture of native grass seeds.
The remediation will reduce the direct exposure of visitors to the forest to mining wastes containing arsenic and lead in the long term and will reduce the potential for migration of these heavy metals into the environment.