Project Advisor(s)

Dr. Jeffrey Strasser

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Location

Gävle Room, The Gerber Center

Disciplines

Geology

Description, Abstract, or Artist's Statement

The Bautsch-Gray zinc and lead mine, near Galena, Ill., was in operation from the early 1900s until closing in 1975. The mine’s tailings pile has documented elevated lead and zinc concentrations in the surface materials surrounding the site. Numerous floods have caused contaminated sediment to migrate off the mine tailings pile, across Blackjack Road and into an outwash basin, and towards Smallpox Creek. Since this site was designated an EPA priority list superfund site in 2010, there have been numerous remediation efforts.

This study attempts to develop a better understanding of the contamination within the soils of the outwash basin down-gradient of the mine as well as within the sediment bedload and vegetation of Smallpox Creek. Forty samples were collected, using a shovel or garden trowel, throughout this area and analyzed for lead and zinc contamination using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry. Excluding six samples from the mine tailings (that served as a baseline for contamination levels in mine tailing sediments), 17 samples exceeded the lead contamination limit of 400 ppm for soils near a superfund site and 21 samples exceeded the zinc contamination limit of 7500 ppm for soils near a superfund site.

Though there have been mitigation efforts to remove contamination from the outwash area, these results indicate that there is still more work to be done. High concentrations of lead and zinc in the outwash basin indicate that Smallpox Creek is susceptible to continued contamination from this site.

Additional Files:

Plath paper.pdf (3342 kB)

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May 6th, 3:15 PM May 6th, 4:30 PM

Geochemical Analysis of Surface Materials Surrounding the Bautsch-Gray Mine Superfund Site Near Galena, Illinois

Gävle Room, The Gerber Center

The Bautsch-Gray zinc and lead mine, near Galena, Ill., was in operation from the early 1900s until closing in 1975. The mine’s tailings pile has documented elevated lead and zinc concentrations in the surface materials surrounding the site. Numerous floods have caused contaminated sediment to migrate off the mine tailings pile, across Blackjack Road and into an outwash basin, and towards Smallpox Creek. Since this site was designated an EPA priority list superfund site in 2010, there have been numerous remediation efforts.

This study attempts to develop a better understanding of the contamination within the soils of the outwash basin down-gradient of the mine as well as within the sediment bedload and vegetation of Smallpox Creek. Forty samples were collected, using a shovel or garden trowel, throughout this area and analyzed for lead and zinc contamination using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry. Excluding six samples from the mine tailings (that served as a baseline for contamination levels in mine tailing sediments), 17 samples exceeded the lead contamination limit of 400 ppm for soils near a superfund site and 21 samples exceeded the zinc contamination limit of 7500 ppm for soils near a superfund site.

Though there have been mitigation efforts to remove contamination from the outwash area, these results indicate that there is still more work to be done. High concentrations of lead and zinc in the outwash basin indicate that Smallpox Creek is susceptible to continued contamination from this site.