Torch Lake Sands

Torch Lake was the tailings pond for both the C&H mines in Calumet and the Quincy Mine in Hancock, the two largest mines in the whole district. A significant fraction of the entire volume of the lake was filled with stand sands and other mining wastes.  This period was one with far less stringent environmental regulation. One of the first “superfund”  sites managed by the EPA was Torch Lake.  Because the tailings contained little sulfide, problems of acid mine tailings were not present in this case. Stamp sands did not sustain vegetation, however, possible because of copper and other elements concentrating in ground water within stamp sands. Covering the stamp sand surfaces with topsoil was one major focus of the superfund work and now vegetation is growing there.  Evolution of Torch Lake CCE