Superfund Research Program
Prediction and Properties of Airborne Dust Arising from Mining Sites
Final Progress Reports
Eric Betterton, Ph.D., and his research team have developed a model to predict dust transport and deposition at a local scale, up to few kilometers. The model allows for the prediction of transport of metal and metalloid contaminants from mining sites, which may pose a health risk to neighboring communities. The model has been successfully applied to predict contaminant transport and deposition at the Iron King Mine and Humboldt Smelter Superfund site in Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona. Currently, the model is being used for source apportionment of contaminants at the Hayden-Winkelman Superfund Alternative site in Hayden-Winkelman, Arizona. This site has nearby tailings piles as well as an active concentrator and smelter. An important component of the model is the quantification of dust emissions. To achieve this, the research team has designed and built a portable wind tunnel (PWT) that is currently being tested in the field. Observations performed with the PWT will allow them to use their current model as a predictive tool to assess the extent of contamination by atmospheric transport of particulates. In parallel with the modeling effort, researchers have continued to gather data on contaminant transport by dust and aerosol at the two mentioned field sites. Measurements include the quantification of the effect of phytostabilization on dust emission and contaminant transport attenuation.