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HEALTH CONSULTATION

COPPER BASIN MINING DISTRICT, OPERABLE UNIT 4
COPPERHILL, POLK COUNTY, TENNESSEE

 

DISCUSSION

Water in the Isabella Mine Pit is contaminated with high concentrations of metals. It is unlikely that trespassers on the site would swim or wade in the pit because the water is discolored (dark red) and is aesthetically unappealing. Metals are poorly absorbed through intact skin, so incidental skin contact with water in the pit would not pose a health hazard.

Although data were not provided, water in the pit was reported to be acidic (pH as low as 2-3). If humans had accidental skin contact with this water, it would not be expected to pose a significant risk of chemical burns or irritation (see discussion in Health Consultation for Operable Unit 5).

A surface water sample collected from North Potato Creek in Operable Unit 4 contained cyanide at a concentration of 13 ppb. This concentration is below the EPA's Maximum Contaminant Level for cyanide in drinking water (200 ppb) and does not pose a public health hazard.

Water in the pit is reportedly 300 feet deep, and the walls are steep. Therefore, trespassers, especially young children, could be at risk of drowning if they fell into the pit.



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