Barite Hill/Nevada Goldfields
Site Summary ProfileEPA ID: SCN000407714
Location: McCormick, McCormick County, SC
Lat/Long: 33.8711, -082.2972
Congressional District: 03
NPL Status: Proposed: 09/03/08; Final: 04/09/09
Affected Media: Ground water, Soil
Cleanup Status: Early Action Initiated/Completed and Study Underway - Physical cleanup activities have started.
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: Potential for Commercial/Light Industrial
Site Manager: Candice Jackson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The 795-acre Barite Hill/Nevada Goldfields site is located approximately three miles south of McCormick, in McCormick County, South Carolina. The site was actively mined for gold and silver from 1991 to 1995. Operations included the heap leaching of gold from ore, using a weak cyanide solution. Nevada Goldfields used seven processing ponds and one sediment pond to process the “pregnant” solution that contained the gold. After the closure of the mine, the approximate 10-acre Main Pit began to fill with water. At its highest, the pit contained approximately 60 million gallons of water with an average pH of 2.0 and high dissolved metals content. Nevada Goldfields pursued site reclamation activities from 1995 until filing for bankruptcy in 1999. The property was then relinquished to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Former site operations resulted in the contamination of the Main Pit, ponds, sediment, surface water, and soil with arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, selenium, silver, zinc, and cyanide. Metals were also detected in surface water and sediments of Hawe Creek and its tributaries. Because Hawe Creek is a fishery, people could have been exposed by eating contaminated fish. Additionally, Hawe Creek empties into a drinking water reservoir. There was also a risk that water in the Acid Pit will overflow and acid/metals-laden water will enter the reservoir.
Site Cleanup Plan
Several interim remedial actions for this site have been completed and monitoring of these efforts is underway. A final remedy for the site will be selected based on sampling and monitoring results conducted as part of the Remedial Investigation (RI). RI activities began at the site February 2011.
EPA conducted a Removal Site Evaluation in 2007. Emergency response activities included demolition of a furnace building and on-site neutralization of over 2,000 lbs of acids and bases.
A subsequent removal action commenced on October 15, 2007 and included a Bureau of Reclamation-designed cap for the 250,000 cubic yards of acid-producing waste rock adjacent to the Acid Pit. On February 4, 2008, efforts to neutralize the Acid Pit commenced using carbide lime combined with a patented carbon loading treatment.
Grading, capping of the north and south waste rock piles, and construction of a spillway were completed by October 2008. An advanced monitoring system to monitor the waste rock cap and the Acid Pit was installed in 2009.
EPA has conducted a range of community involvement activities at the Barite Hill/Nevada Goldfields site to solicit community input and to ensure that the public remains informed about site activities throughout the site cleanup process.
Site Administrative Documents
For more information or to view any site-related documents, please visit the site information repository at the following location. As new documents are generated, they will be placed in the information repository for public information.
McCormick County Library
201 Railroad Avenue
McCormick, SC 29835
For documents not available on the website, please contact the Region 4 Freedom of Information Office.