Summary of Experience of G. Fred Lee and Anne Jones-Lee in
G. Fred Lee's experience in the environmental aspects of mining and mineral processing started in the mid-1960's with the work as a consultant to the Reserve Mining Company of Silver Bay, Minnesota. For a several year period he was the lead consultant on a several million dollar per year environmental study devoted to evaluating the water quality impact of the discharge of 50,000 tons/day of taconite (iron ore) tailings into the North Shore area of Lake Superior. These investigations included study of a wide variety of possible impacts ranging from leaching of heavy metals from the tailings to toxicity of the tailings to aquatic life. These studies ultimately lead to litigation in a Minnesota Court where the judge ruled that the tailings were not having an adverse impact on Lake Superior water quality including aquatic life. During the course of these studies Dr. Lee pioneered in the development of leaching tests and bioassays to determine whether the contaminants in the tailings were leachable under the conditions that exist in Lake Superior water. Further, he did some of the first bioassays ever done to access the toxicity of heavy metals associated with tailings to various forms of aquatic life. This work showed that contrary to regulatory agency claims, the tailings were non-toxic to aquatic life and the heavy metals and algal nutrients, such as phosphorus, were non-leachable under the conditions that exist in Lake Superior water.
Dr. Lee has extensive experience in acid mine drainage production and problems. This work includes research on the factors controlling acid formation from sulfurtic agglomerates found in Western Pennsylvania coal mines to work on acid production from a massive copper sulfide ore body. Dr. Lee conducted a review and guided laboratory studies for Kennecott Copper Co. on the potential for a proposed sulfide ore body in northern Wisconsin to develop acid waters in a lake that would be formed after the ore had been mined. He developed an experimental procedure to determine the potential for this ore to develop acidic conditions. This study showed that there was a high potential for acid production in a lake that could be formed unless precautions are taken to prevent moisture from contact with the unmined-residual ore.
Dr. Lee was involved in a State of Colorado Attorney General's Office Natural Resources lawsuit against the Idarado Mining Co. for mine drainage and tailings discharge to a stream near Telluride, CO. Dr. Lee assisted the attorneys for the company in evaluating the impact of the heavy metals in the mine drainage and in the tailings on fish (trout) and other aquatic life in the stream.
In the early 1960's, Dr. Lee and his graduate students did some of the first work done on the leaching of radium 226 from uranium mill tailings. They found that some of these tailings leached large amounts of radium 226. They also found that the sulfate content of the leaching water was a primary factor in controlling the amount of radium leached.
On behalf of several cities located near Denver, CO., Dr. Lee assisted attorneys in evaluating the leaching of radium 226 and other radio nuclides from uranium mining operations. There was concern in these studies about the potential for the leached radium to exceed drinking water standards in a reservoir which served as the city's domestic water supply.
In the mid-1980's, he again was again involved in the leaching of radium 226 from waste uranium ores. These were ores which were used as a source of radium 226 by the watch dial painters of the 1920's. These ores were scattered over several communities in New Jersey and were judged to be a health hazard to residents who had constructed homes on them. The state of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection proposed to excavate these waste ores and place them in a sand and gravel pit in the western part of the state. Dr. Lee showed that the proposed method of disposal represented a significant potential for groundwater pollution by radium 226.
Dr. Lee and Dr. Jones' extensive work on the release of contaminants associated with aquatic sediments has direct application to many mining-related environmental problems. They have conducted over a million dollars in research on the leaching of contaminants from US waterway sediments. Dr. Lee and Dr. Jones pioneered in the development of sediment bioassays and a tiered hazard assessment approach for evaluating the water quality significance of sediment-associated contaminants. A summary discussion of some of their work and key findings in this area are discussed in their paper, "Evaluation of the Water Quality Significance of the Chemical Constituents in Aquatic Sediments: Coupling Sediment Quality Evaluation Results to Significant Water Quality Impacts."
Their work on Superfund site cleanup in various parts of the country provides them with extensive experience with contaminated site remediation. They served as internal consultants to the Ebasco Co. in this firm's US EPA Rem III $200 million Superfund contract for RI/FS studies for sites east of the Mississippi River. A summary of their work with Ebasco is enclosed.
Recently the City of Sacramento Department of Planning and Development has selected Dr. Lee and Dr. Jones to conduct a comprehensive review evaluation and clean up of the state of California "superfund" site in the central part of the city. Particular attention is being given to evaluating the impact of residual contaminants on the redevelopment of the site.
Dr. Lee has extensive experience in evaluating the integrity of clay and membrane liners for landfills and disposal pits. He also has considerable knowledge on the transport and transformations of contaminants in groundwater systems.
Dr. Lee and Dr. Jones have been leaders in developing site specific water quality criteria and standards that properly protect the designated beneficial uses of a water without unnecessary expenditures. Further, their work on management of complex industrial waste water effluents provides high degrees of expertise in mineral processing waste waters.