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Old 01-12-2020, 11:14 AM
 
311 posts, read 442,737 times
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As a few know the wife and I are about 5 months away from making our final choice of where to live in Tucson and we had almost settled on the GV/Sahuarita area when I read on the front page of the GV news (if you really want to know about an area read their local newspaper!) concerning "dust tailings" from the copper mines. I've never heard of such a thing so I did some research.....Ack...does not look good. Can anyone elaborate a little on just how much of an issue this is? Thanks!
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Old 01-12-2020, 06:26 PM
 
Location: Chemnitz, Germany previous in AZ, CA, AL, NJ,
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Mine dust blowing into GV is something to be aware of. I have driven by the long rows of discarded mining debris that are near I-19, and to the west and north of GV and Sahuarita. Look at Google Map in satellite view, zoom out a bit and look at the area about 2 miles west.

This is a desert, the mine waste is dry sandy soil, and the wind blows occasionally from the west. I don't know the makeup of what is in the mine waste, but it is something more than sand and rock. The fine particles that you can't see are are worse to breathe than the larger particles that you can see, and neither are good for the lungs. I would prefer not to live close to a coal burning power plant, oil refinery, chemical plant, railroad yard, stockyard, pig farm or mine waste field.
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Old 01-12-2020, 07:38 PM
 
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The white powder visible on top of the mine tailings is magnesium chloride. They apply it, spray water on it, and it's used for dust control and to stabilize the soil.

I read the same article Katera referenced and share his concerns. Are some areas better than others to avoid the blowing dust? One man in the article who has lived there 17 years had a double lung transplant in October from lung disease and emphesema. Another couple talked of worsening health and respiratory issues, are always vacuuming, dusting, and using air purifiers, and have to replace their rugs every six months. It may not be an issue for snow-birders/part-timers, but we'd like to live there full-time. I realize it's not an everyday occurrence, just in windy conditions.
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Old 01-13-2020, 05:27 AM
 
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in my 6 years living in tucson areas including swan/speedway, tucson mall, grant/n. country club, the air is surprisingly dirty. i especially notice it during the times of year that i can have my windows open. i don't know a lot about dust in GV but there does seem to be a lot in tucson. seems to be a combination of pollen, fine sand/dirt/rubber residue from tires/etc.
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Old 01-13-2020, 04:04 PM
 
Location: Tucson
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I seem to remember reading something last year or the year before where people had what looked like snow all over everything. Apparently the mining company didn't water the surface enough or something like that and the dust blew all over. The air up here in Tucson is bad enough. Especially in summer. Sometimes I cannot even see the Santa Ritas. So you are smart to look at the air quality down that way.
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Old 01-14-2020, 04:17 AM
 
Location: Tucson/Nogales
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I occasionally check the film dust on my car and it's not very often that I see it/feel it. Having moved here from Las Vegas, this has been a very nice extended vacation from the wind and dust up there. Checking average annual windspeeds across the country, Las Vegas is about 9.2MPH (highest is Cheyenne, WY @ 13.9) and lowest is L.A. and Phoenix, tied at 6.2MPH. But I didn't see Tucson on the list for some reason, anyone know? It's certainly a lot lower than Las Vegas.

I thought the mine was closed down near Green Valley. It's re-opened?

I have a view of the Catalina's 50 feet away from my house, and my view of the Catalina's, last summer, was clear as a bell, but then, I'm close to the mountains @Rosemont/Grant/TMC. With distance, the view might not be so clear.
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Old 01-14-2020, 06:08 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
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oh holy crap: my niece and her husband have just signed the papers on building a new house in GV. I hope they looked into this before hand This will be their "forever" home. As they are moving there after the house is built and they see the home they have lived in for 30 plus years. Of course they are moving from So. CA so grew up with smug. The part that bothers me about what you are saying is: I don't think they did much research before they purchased the new home.
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Old 01-14-2020, 06:15 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
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With mine tailings blowing with the wind, I'd be concerned about the possible threat of contracting Silicosis.

https://www.webmd.com/lung/what-is-silicosis

"Silicosis is a lung disease. It usually happens in jobs where you breathe in dust that contains silica. That’s a tiny crystal found in sand, rock, or mineral ores like quartz.

Over time, silica can build up in your lungs and breathing passages. This leads to scarring that makes it hard to breathe."
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:43 AM
 
311 posts, read 442,737 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
oh holy crap: my niece and her husband have just signed the papers on building a new house in GV. I hope they looked into this before hand This will be their "forever" home. As they are moving there after the house is built and they see the home they have lived in for 30 plus years. Of course they are moving from So. CA so grew up with smug. The part that bothers me about what you are saying is: I don't think they did much research before they purchased the new home.
Yeah, my wife and I are literally a few months away and we had all but decided on Sahuarita/GV when during the last parts of my region research I stumbled across the GV newspaper and there it was ...front page story. We knew about the mines and my concern had always been contaminated drinking water which for the most part they seem to be clear of, but these mine dust tailings were something new. Seems the mine had to pay a few hundred thousand as restoration a few years ago for the same problem.

So here is the problem I see....this is never going to go away. I was shocked by just how large these mines were when we visited and what happens if the company that treated the mine tailings goes out of business or says, "that's it, we are done dealing with it..."? The community is left to deal with it themselves. In that case you wouldn't be able to give your house away down there. That to me is a giant risk just to save $50k on a cheaper house. Honestly, it's why I posted this thread. I am an avid researcher when it comes to where I live and if I had missed something like this I would not of forgiven myself. Is it a deal killer? Dunno, maybe. We had all but comes to terms with living in the shadow of the mines but I'm not going to lie...they have always bothered me. More so than I even let on to my wife.

On an incidental note, we were very interested in the continental ranch area as well when we first got to Tucson and during that research I found that the north side of continental ranch (on the Marana well) has a serious water issue. Like it's contaminated from a local dump seeping into it causing levels of a cancer chemical to be very high. So high they don't recommend you drinking or even showering in it. This is smack dab in the middle of beautiful new housing developments.....now all being sold with $8k house water treatment systems. Also read the builders are making you sign "hold harmless" waivers when you buy a house. Like I said...can't give them away. The city of Marana is trying to figure out what to do now, but there will prob be some kind of bond to build a new plant. Sucks because it was completely avoidable....like dust tailings from a mine.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:38 AM
 
Location: Chemnitz, Germany previous in AZ, CA, AL, NJ,
3,401 posts, read 8,543,598 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tijlover View Post
I occasionally check the film dust on my car and it's not very often that I see it/feel it. Having moved here from Las Vegas, this has been a very nice extended vacation from the wind and dust up there. Checking average annual windspeeds across the country, Las Vegas is about 9.2MPH (highest is Cheyenne, WY @ 13.9) and lowest is L.A. and Phoenix, tied at 6.2MPH. But I didn't see Tucson on the list for some reason, anyone know? It's certainly a lot lower than Las Vegas.

I thought the mine was closed down near Green Valley. It's re-opened?

I have a view of the Catalina's 50 feet away from my house, and my view of the Catalina's, last summer, was clear as a bell, but then, I'm close to the mountains @Rosemont/Grant/TMC. With distance, the view might not be so clear.
My apartment is a few miles east of you, near speedway & pantano. I park under a carport, and my white car rarely needs to be washed due to dirt and dust. It makes a big difference to live in the city area compared to a more rural area. I ride my bicycle all around the Tucson metro area, and notice that wind speed is higher once I get near the south side, and also heading towards Vail where the terrain is more wide open.

Yes, two open pit copper mines near GV are active, owned by ASARCO and Freeport McMoran. You can even pay to go on a tour of the mine and smelting plant. The smelter uses a water separation process to separate the copper particles from the rest of the rock and mineral particles, instead of cooking the rock particles in a hot furnace. However, the leftover water goes into toxic holding ponds.

ASARCO » Mine Tours
https://legacy.azdeq.gov/calendar/fa...t_sierrita.pdf
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