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The U.S. Forest Service is accepting public comment and input as it develops an environmental cleanup plan for the abandoned Harshaw Creek Mines Site near Patagonia.

A draft Engineering Evaluation and Cost Analysis (EE/CA) report has been prepared to identify and evaluate alternatives to clean up the waste rock and close mine features at the site, and the public can submit written comments on the report by the end of the business day on Jan. 13.

“The EE/CA concludes a potential threat to human health and the environment from heavy metal contamination associated with past mining and the physical threat of open mine shafts and trenches,” the Forest Service said in a news release, adding that the recommended cleanup alternative is to consolidate waste rock material at the site itself, as well as closing mine shafts and trenches. 

“Waste rock material would be excavated and used to backfill open mine shafts and trenches in each mine area,” it said. “Remaining waste rock material would be consolidated into an on-site consolidation cell and capped with clean soil material.” 

The EE/CA is available for review at the Coronado National Forest Supervisor’s Office at 300 W. Congress St. in Tucson. The contact person there is environmental engineer Hailey Stock at hailey.stock@usda.gov.

It is also available via email in .pdf format upon request from the Southwestern Regional Office in Albuquerque, N.M. Contact Angelica Villa, assistant regional environmental engineer, at angelica.villa@usda.gov.

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