Site Characterization of Smelterville Flats: A Spatial Analysis of Tailings Contamination
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 1992
Smelterville Flats in Idaho's Silver Valley has been designated as a Superfund site due to metals contamination resulting from the use of the South Fork of the Coeur d'Alene river as a tailings impoundment earlier in this century. Tailings average in excess of 4% lead and zinc. Selective mining of highly contaminated zones is being studied as one of several possible remediation strategies. The first step towards remediation is the examination of the stratigraphic, geochemical and spatial characteristics of the site. These characteristics are related to appropriate sampling protocols and exploratory sample grid design. Special problems involved in the geostatistical analysis of tailings are emphasized.