Link back to NH/Vt home page
NEW HAMPSHIRE-VERMONT Office PROJECTS:

Characterization of Solid Mine Wastes, Mine Drainage, and Trace Metal Concentrations and Loads at the Pike Hill Superfund Site, Vermont


Study area:
Pike Hill Mine Site, Corinth, VT
 

Project Summary:

Photo showing water leaving mine drainageThe Pike Hill Copper Mine Superfund Site in the Vermont copper belt consists of the abandoned Smith, Eureka, and Union mines, all of which exploited Besshi-type massive sulfide deposits. Pike Hill was mined intermittently for copper from 1847 to 1919 and the site is known to be contributing trace elements and acidity to Pike Hill Brook and an unnamed tributary to Cookville Brook. The site was added to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) National Priorities List in 2004 due to aquatic ecosystem impacts [For more information see USEPA website].

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) studied mine waste, mine drainage, stream sediments, and the hydrology and quality of surface water in and around the Pike Hill mine site from October 2004 to September 2006 as a precursor to a formal remedial investigation by the USEPA. This study produced two USGS reports on: (1) Geochemical characterization of mine waste, mine drainage, and stream sediments and (2) Surface-water hydrology and quality at the Pike Hill Superfund Site.

Map of VT copper mine sites
Click for larger view of site map
  At present, the impact of the abandoned mines on the aquatic ecosystem is poorly understood. The USGS in cooperation with the USEPA began conducting a detailed assessment of the biological integrity of Pike Hill Brook and a tributary to Cookville Brook in 2007. The major objective of the study is to characterize the chemistry of surface water, pore water, and sediment, along with assessing the benthic invertebrate and fish communities at selected reaches in Pike Hill Brook and a tributary to Cookville Brook in order to: (1) Provide a detailed characterization of surface water, pore water, and sediment chemistry and the biological community (macroinvertebrates and fish); (2) Compare and contrast surface-water, pore-water, and sediment trace-element concentrations; (3) Determine trace-element concentrations in fish, which USEPA will use to establish the degree that concentrations are toxic to the fish, as well as identify the risk to wildlife and humans from consumption of the fish; and (4) Evaluate the toxicity of surface water, pore water, and sediment.

 

Project duration:
2004 - 2008

Cooperators:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Region 1

Project chief:
Geologic Discipline: Robert Seal
Water Discipline: Richard Kiah

Contact information:
rseal@usgs.gov
703-648-6290

rkiah@usgs.gov
603-226-7819
Project number:
NH BSH
 

Publications:

Kiah, R.G., Deacon, J.R., Piatak, N.M., Seal, R.R. II, Coles, J.F., and Hammarstrom, J.M., 2007, Surface-water hydrology and quality at the Pike Hill Superfund Site, Corinth, Vermont, October 2004 to December 2005, U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5003, 61 p. [REPORT AVAILABLE ONLINE at https://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2007/5003].

Piatak, N.M., Seal, R.R., II, Hammarstrom, J.M., Kiah, R.G., Deacon, J.R., Adams, M., Anthony, M.W., Briggs, P.H., and Jackson, J.C., 2006, Geochemical characterization of mine waste, mine drainage, and stream sediments at the Pike Hill Copper Mine Superfund Site, Orange County, Vermont: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2006-5303, 120 p. [REPORT AVAILABLE ONLINE at http://pubs.water.usgs.gov/sir20065303].

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
New Hampshire/Vermont Office, USGS, 331 Commerce Way, Pembroke, NH 03275, USA
Comments and feedback:
Last Updated January 8, 2013
Privacy Statement || Disclaimer