COPPER BASIN MINING DISTRICT, OPERABLE UNIT 1
COPPERHILL, POLK COUNTY, TENNESSEE
Access to the tailings pond area is unrestricted, and trespassers can enter the area on foot or on motor vehicles. Trespassers could be exposed to on-site contamination by ingesting surface soils or by inhaling suspended dusts. However, the concentrations of metals in surface soil, sediment, and waste samples from the tailings pond would not be expected to pose a health hazard for such exposures.
Surface water in the tailings pond contained concentrations of lead and manganese that exceed an acceptable drinking water concentration; however, this water is not used for potable purposes. Since metals are poorly absorbed through skin, dermal contact with water in the pond would not pose a health hazard.
No groundwater samples were collected near the tailings pond, so the impact of environmental contamination on groundwater quality cannot be assessed. Groundwater contamination is of potential health concern, because in the future the area may be developed for residential use.
There are numerous abandoned mines in the area (e.g., Bura-Bura Mine) that
pose a physical hazard. The mine pits are typically steep-walled and partially
filled with water. Since access to the mines is unrestricted, they pose a risk
of physical injury or drowning if someone were to fall into one of them.