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Pacific Southwest, Region 9: Superfund

Serving Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations

Grey Eagle Mine

EPA #: CAD000629923

State: California(CA)

County: Siskiyou

City: Happy Camp

Congressional District: 2

Other Names:

Bulletin Board


Description and History

NPL Listing History

NPL Status: Non-NPL

Proposed Date:

Final Date:

Deleted Date:

The site is located on the banks of Indian Creek, a tributary of the Klamath River. Indian Creek is habitat for numerous wildlife species, in particular the coho salmon, chinook salmon, and steelhead trout. The steelhead and coho salmon are endangered species.

The site occupies portions of a 20 acre site on Indian Creek Road., 5.5 miles north of Happy Camp, Siskiyou County, CA. The site was previously used as a copper mine mill tailings dump, and a subsequently as a lumber mill The mill tailings onsite result from copper mine operations at the Grey Eagle Mine, approximately 2 miles from the tailings location. The tailings were slurried downhill from the ore processing facilities to the edge of Indian Creek where they remain. The copper mine last operated during World War II. The lumber mill operated into the 1980s, and its operator was responsible for re-grading the mill tailings into a log pond.


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Contaminants and Risks

Contaminated Media
  • Surface Water
  • Environmentally Sensitive Area

Current conditions at the site are causing a release of acid and heavy metals to Indian Creek as a result of the continued oxidation of sulfide mill tailings disposed onsite. Acid rock drainage (ARD), also referred to as acid mine drainage (AMD), is the process in which sulfide minerals oxidize in a weathering environment forming sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid increases the mobility of many heavy metals by making them more soluble.

Tailings can be directly released due to the undermining of the tailings pile during high flow periods on Indian Creek.

The portion of Indian Creek adjacent to the site is habitat for the coho salmon (endangered species), the steelhead trout (endangered species), and chinook salmon. Currently, the California Dept. of Fish & Game classifies this segment of Indian Creek as a fish-avoidance area, meaning fish can survive by avoiding the contaminated areas. At this time, it has not been determined to what extent continued discharge will further adversely affect the aquatic habitat in Indian Creek or the Klamath River.

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Who is Involved

Releases from the site adversely affecting Indian Creek and its fish have been documented by State agencies since the 1950s. Most recently, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board has been unsuccessful in getting potentially responsible parties (PRPs) to conduct response actions.

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Investigation and Cleanup Activities

In order to adequately respond to the immediate threats, the following actions are proposed:

1. Consolidate all mill tailings on the site and stockpile them on the former log pond prior to grading and capping.

2. Reduce the slope between the log pond and Indian Creek from its present 1:1 grade to a gentler 2.5:1 slope to reduce the threat further erosion and of collapse to Indian Creek..

3. Grade the tailings in the log pond to a 50:1 slope connecting to the 2.5:1 portion.

4. Cover the entire tailings area in the log pond (approx. 14 acres) with a 60 mil (0.060 inches) High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) liner to prevent the further oxidation of the mill tailings and to prevent water from infiltrating the tailings pile.

5. Cover the liner with 12 inches of clean soil and seed with native grasses.

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Cleanup Results to Date

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Potentially Responsible Parties

Potentially responsible parties (PRPs) refers to companies that are potentially responsible for generating, transporting, or disposing of the hazardous waste found at the site.

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Documents and Reports

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Community Involvement

Public Meetings:

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Public Information Repositories

The public information repositories for the site are at the following locations:

The most complete collection of documents is the official EPA site file, maintained at the following location:

Superfund Records Center

Mail Stop SFD-7C

95 Hawthorne Street, Room 403

San Francisco, CA 94105

(415) 820-4700

Enter main lobby of 75 Hawthorne street, go to 4th floor of South Wing Annex.

Additional Links

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EPA Site Manager
Carl Brickner
US EPA Region 9
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Community Involvement Coordinator
David Yogi
US EPA Region 9
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Public Information Center
(415) 947-8701
State Contact
PRP Contact
Community Contact
Other Contacts
After Hours (Emergency Response)
(800) 424-8802

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