EPA: U.S. Magnesium dumped acid on Utah public lands
Pollution • EPA approves mitigation plan for spill of hydrochloric acid.
Published: February 21, 2014 08:32PM
Updated: February 21, 2014 11:01PM

U.S. Magnesium “released” 8,000 pounds of dangerous waste into an unlined retention pond last month, releasing some onto adjacent public land in Tooele County, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Although the magnesium producer, which operates near Rowley on the Great Salt Lake’s west shore, reported the spill Jan. 23, the EPA only disclosed the incident Friday when the agency agreed to a mitigation plan with U.S. Magnesium.

According to a news release, the company spilled hydrochloric acid, which can harm humans and animals if they touch or inhale it. The EPA did not specify if the acid release was deliberate or accidental.

“The spill area is remote. However, people who hunt or recreate in the area, as well as wildlife, and livestock in the area could be at risk,” the news release stated.

The mitigation plan “provides for actions necessary to protect human health and the environment at the spill site.”

The plan’s first phase requires the company to fence off the spill area on public land and post warning signs every 150 feet. Next it must come up with a plan to control access on company land and to address the spill’s cause, which the EPA did not identify. Finally, it must clean up the spill and develop plans to address future spills.

U.S. Magnesium officials could not be reached or comment Friday.

bmaffly@sltrib.com