Dear Clear Lake Community:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is contacting you with a Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine Superfund site cleanup update because you:

  • are on the site email list; or
  • a community member recommended to add you to the list.

If you would like to be removed from this list, please reply to this message with “STOP” in the subject line.

Current Work

  • This November, we will:
    • propose a cleanup plan (called a “Proposed Plan”) for the on-land mine part of the site;
    • explain how the plan will protect human health and the environment; and
    • make the cleanup plan available for public comment
  • After we release the plan, we will:
    • notify the community (paper, radio, web, postcards);
    • post a YouTube presentation;
    • open a formal 90-day public comment period; and
    • host public engagement opportunities (an event calendar will be sent when it is available)

What’s next for the cleanup?

  • Fall/Winter 2022: Final cleanup plan for the on-land mine part of the site presented to community
  • 2025-2028 (estimated): Start cleanup of on-land, mine part of the site
  • Ongoing: Continue studying lake and sediment to see how best to control the mercury

Site Facts/History:

  • 160-acre abandoned open-pit mercury mine
  • On the Clear Lake shoreline (Lake County, Calif.)
  • Added to the Superfund cleanup program in 1990 (For more info, please visit EPA's Superfund Webpage)
  • EPA has done eight early cleanups to date to protect human health and the environment (For more info, please visit the Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine Superfund Site Webpage)

What are the health risks related to the site?

  • It is safe to recreate in Clearlake and on its shorelines, though mercury and arsenic pollute the soil and water at the site. Clear lake water meets government water standards. (For more info, please see the 2021 Sulphur Bank Superfund Site Cleanup Update)
    • While unrelated to the site, there are occasional and natural algal and cyanobacteria blooms that can make it unsafe to swim. These happen in mid-to-late-summer and EPA advises the community to follow the Lake County Cyanobacteria Guidance.
  • Pollution affects tribal health and traditional lifeways, for those tribes that rely heavily on the natural resources in and around Clear Lake. (For more info, please see the Arsenic and Mercury Risks fact sheet)
  • Mercury from the site builds-up in Clearlake fish and makes some of these of fish unsafe to eat.(See the state’s fish guidance for eating fish in the Clear Lake Fish Consumption Advisory)

Please feel free to share this information with your community.

Gavin Pauley – Community Involvement Coordinator

Region 9 – Pacific Southwest

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

(415) 535-3725 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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