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EPA: U.S. Magnesium dumped acid on Utah public lands

Published February 21, 2014 8:32 pm

Pollution • EPA approves mitigation plan for spill of hydrochloric acid.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

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