Sonora Remedial Project: Community Outreach and Education


An important component of this binational project is the incorporation of the local community in regards to the tailing stabilization plan and future educational efforts.  From the onset, it was apparent that citizens have been dealing with dust and erosion problems for a long time.  Nearby neighborhoods and community wide citizens wanted the implementation of a plan that would mitigate these reoccurring issues.  The local municipal government is aware of their desire and has been working to obtain support for both the physical stabilization and phytostabilization strategies.

Community Activities   

In lieu of the implementation of the stabilization plans, the binational team has moved ahead with community outreach and education activities. They have been implemented by a multidisciplinary team that has in addition incorporated the Universidad de Sonora (UNISON) Department of Social Science and Civil Engineering and Mines.  The following is the time line of these activities:

  • October 2007 -  implementation of a community survey with respect to their perception of the tailings and local environmental issues.  A total of 20 UNISON social science students applied the survey instrument door-to-door in the Nacozari de Garcia community.  
  • October 30, 2007 - binational team conducted an introductory community meeting in Nacozari de Garcia in conjunction with state and local officials.  The attendees included local students, science teachers, mining representatives, and municipal and state personnel.
  • February 5, 2009 - a community meeting was facilitated by the binational team to present citizens with technical and social components of the project.  A total of 250 people attended with 25 registering for citizens committee focusing on environmental activities.
  • October 2010 - the binational team in conjunction with Southern Copper - Minera Mexico implemented a community wide compost project that incorporated Esqueda, Sonora, Mexico.  Students from the university prepared compost protocols that were later demonstrated at the local level at small workshops. 





Six Simple Steps to Decrease Dust Exposure from Mine Tailings:

  • Prevent children from playing in the tailings, caves, and surrounding areas.
  • Do not use the mine tailings as a race track for automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles or to exercise.   
  • Wash your hands immediately after playing with soil especially before eating.
  • Cover your mouth and nose if you need to be outside on a windy day .
  • Close doors and windows on a windy day to decrease dust in the home or business.
  • Plant trees in your backyards and front yards; they that can serve as dust barriers.

For additional Information click on the links below:

UA Binational Center and Superfund Program: Informational Sheet, "What are Mine Tailings"

Environmental Health Factor: March 2008, "Superfund Program Helps to Train Mexico's Environmental Scientists"

Waste Policy Forum and Border Scrap Tire Group: Border 2012 Presentation, "Nacozai Project Updates" 

U.S. EPA Border 2012 Features Project: Goal 3 Fact Sheet, "Composting in Sonora Communities"

U.S.-Mexico Environmental Border Program: May 3011, "Border Progress Report"