In Simple Terms–
Over 100 years ago the Verde Valley was mined for its rich copper, gold, and precious metals. Jerome, Cottonwood and Clarkdale had extensive mining operations and the Verde Valley was buzzing with big biz. . . . and lots of money was made!
This early mining business was the sustaining and substantial part of the Verde Valley’s economy. Back then, the United Verde Copper Company mined the area 1915/1932 sold to Phelps Dodge Corporation 1935 re-opened and mined till 1953 later sold to Freeport-MacMoRan in 2007, to present.
The Health and Safety Rules did not exist over 100 years ago, nor was there an awareness of the residual results of making big money and the effects on the lands, that still today, are being cleaned up. Fortunately, today there are advanced methods of mining that not only make a profit but also leave a cleaner environment and less residual effect.
Throughout the state of Arizona, various mine towns, with the same scenarios, are having ongoing cleanup.
For decade’s, old hazardous waste, and tailings, have been polluting and infiltrating our groundwater. The effects on the ground from arsenic, copper and lead deposits from the old mining process of these chemicals are also released into the air and getting into the soils near the smelters.
Since the prior mining companies did not clean up their mess or even have the current technology to deal with it, FreePort-MacMoRan who has purchased these property rights has stood up and now cleanup has been ongoing, not only in soil remediation, but in tailings clean up and restoring the areas that were affected back to a natural state, to benefit nature, wildlife, the air, the soil and the earth. All this benefits people’s health, safety and wellbeing, along with the local wildlife.
Freeport has been working to clean up the mine tailings in Clarkdale, located below the Tuzigoot National Monument Indian Ruins, with successful results already, check it out HERE. Freeport hired a large firm Damian Applied Toxicology, LLC a scientific research company.
The Soil Sampling Remediation Program~
Now it is time for Freeport to implement the United Verde Soil Program in Clarkdale, AZ, both upper and lower residential areas to include the park schools residential and commercial properties. Around 500 property owners are within the mapped area. See Map HERE.
Freeport will set up an office this summer in Clarkdale, AZ
For the purpose of reaching out to the local residents involved, answering questions, administratively organizing and completing the program, hiring local help and keeping the records for each property they test. This program is set up within the ADEQ voluntary remediation program. Freeport will submit the results and complete the program under the ADEQ Voluntary Rules.
It is recommended that property owners elect to have their individual properties tested that are in the program but not mandatory.
Freeport will keep records on each property; Realtors and or property owners are urged to contact Freemont regarding any sales of these properties, to pass this information onto a new buyer as a disclosure and also to acquire the results.
If the levels are over safe levels for arsenic, lead or copper in the soil the the grounds will be remediated– the soil removed, replaced with safe soil, and the property restored, as it was previously landscaped, at NO cost to the land/property owner. Too high of levels in soil may cause potential health problems in children and adults. This clean-up will have beneficial results for the property and its owner..
The reason Freeport has picked the mapped area is because this area was close to the smelter at the time that it was in operation. The levels may not be as high in some soils, on some properties, as it is on others but without testing this information cannot be obtained to find out so that the necessary clean up may take place.
Is this a good thing?
You bet it is, and the Verde Valley is fortunate that Freeport has come in to clean up these areas.
How long with the program last?
Probably about 2 years or so but until it is completed.
Can a property be included at a later date?
Probably so, if submitted to Freeport.
Could more area be tested that is presently on the mapped area?
Yes if Freemont felt it necessary to extend the areas more from the testing results the accumulate over time.
Big question. . . . You are probably asking why Freeport would do this, free to us, if it is costing them so much money?
Well, simply put, here is a worldwide company which makes its money from mining, oil and chemicals. See who Freeport-McMoRan is HERE. When they purchase properties, or mining rights to these properties, they take on the responsibility of clean up along with the acquisition/ownership they acquired.
It is an all- inclusive requirement, some not voluntary and some voluntary, and huge job: clean- up of the environment. Where does all this money come from with these kinds of clean ups? Well, it’s complicated, but simply put, it is a joint effort driven by the laws both National & State. Funds come from the government, (us, the taxpayers) the state, (us again, the taxpayers) the superfund, parts of certain taxed items such as cigarettes, etc., and the private property owner involved such as Freeport. There are programs, funds and perks (tax benefits) for these things and they are used collectively to benefit the property owner, the government (us) and the earth which we all need to be protecting to get the job done.
Will Freeport prosper?
You bet they will! In the big picture. They are not in business for nothing but they are a wise steward of the job at hand, of cleaning up these areas. Obviously, they would have not purchased these properties with problems without a gold nugget, or should I say “copper nugget”, at the end of the road– profit. No smart company would and neither would you.
What about disclosure? Do all of us, as Realtors, need to disclose?
You bet we do. The Arizona State law says, if it is MATERIAL and could affect the consideration to be paid, we MUST disclose it. That does not mean that the values will go down or up – it just means that it’s a Material Fact the buyer or public that is purchasing the property has the right to know about it and make an INFOMED decision in their process of purchase. When do we disclose up front right away in the beginning not at the end. Just refer them to the source: Freeport – Alicia C. Voss, Manager, Remediation Projects – 602-366-8049. If they still have questions, they should contact their attorney.
What about the property owners? Do we need to disclose?
You bet you do.
A special note, the ARR Buyers Disclosure forms are undergoing an addition to add this information as a disclosure I am told by the folks who work with that committee.
Still today the United Verde Mine has some of the richest copper resources still there in the entire US!
Authored by Esther Talbert 5-31-2015