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ATSDR Press Room

ATSDR Seeks Public Comments on Public Health Assessment for the Midnite Mine site


Stevens County, Wellpinit, Washington

Friday, June 12, 2009

People who visit the Midnite Mine should limit their time there to reduce the chances of being exposed to contaminants, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). ATSDR is seeking public comments on its draft public health assessment. Comments on the report are being accepted through July 20, 2009.

The Midnite Mine site is an inactive open-pit mine located on the Spokane Indian Reservation near Wellpinit, WA. Many people visit the mine area for traditional or subsistence activities. The site includes the mined area, mine roads built with gravel from waste rock, and areas to the south that receive drainage from the mined area. It also includes Blue Creek and groundwater in the mined area.

ATSDR found that coming into contact with contaminants at this site over a long period of time could harm the health of people who visit the area. The agency recommends that people not drink water from the site, including water from Blue Creek, and avoid eating plants or roots that grow in the area.

ATSDR was unable to determine if there is a danger from eating beef, deer or elk that graze in the site area, but advises people not to hunt large game in the mined or mining-affected areas.

Other recommendations include that people spend no more than one hour a day in the mined area. People are also advised not to swim or fish in Blue Creek.

ATSDR is also recommending further testing of fish, plants, and large game at the site for metals and radionuclides.

The public health assessment document is available for review at the following location:

Spokane Tribal College Library

9202 Old School Road
Wellpinit, WA 99040

Phone: 509-258-9202

The document can also be viewed on ATSDR's website at http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/hac/pha/publiccomments.asp

Comments on the public health assessment should be mailed to:

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Records Center

Attn: Midnite Mine Site PHA
1600 Clifton Road, N.E. MS F-09
Atlanta, GA 30333
 
Comments received and ATSDR's responses to those comments will be included in an appendix to the final public health assessment.

For more information, please contact:

Maria Teran-Maciver, health communications/community involvement specialist, at 770-488-0720 or toll free at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636), MTeran-Maciver@cdc.gov, or Steve Richardson, environmental health scientist, at 770-488-0753 or toll free at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636), srichardson1@cdc.gov.

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.

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Members of the news media can request an interview by calling the NCEH/ATSDR Office of Communication at 770-488-0700 or e-mail (news media).

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Related PHA & HC For this Press Release


Midnite Mine Site
Document Date: 5/19/2010 - PHA  [PDF - 3830 KB]

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Related News Releases For Stevens County, Wellpinit, Washington

 

ATSDR Releases Final Midnite Mine Site Report
Release Date: Monday, June 07, 2010
People can minimize their potential exposure to contaminants from the Midnite Mine site by avoiding use of the site for traditional or subsistence activities, according to a report from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

Update on Midnite Mine Site Radiological Public Health Assessment
Release Date: Wednesday, June 11, 2008
The Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry has extended the public comment period for the Midnite Mine public health assessment until July 31, 2007.

ATSDR Announces Public Availability Sessions For The Midnite Mine Site
Release Date: Tuesday, August 10, 1999
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will hold public availability sessions for the Midnite Mine site, on the Spokane Indian Nation Reservation, on Thursday, August 19, 1999.

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