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Hydrogen Sulfide Concerns At Angels Camp’s Utica Mine

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Angels Camp, CA — Heightened hydrogen sulfide levels have been detected in the historic Utica Mine near downtown Angels Camp.

The City of Angels Camp, and other partners, took air and water samples from the area, and findings show a concentration ranging from 2-3 parts per million of hydrogen sulfide at the entrance of the mine. Surrounding waterways are now being monitored. Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless gas known for its pungent rotten egg smell.

The Calaveras Health and Human Services Agency reports, “Although people are known to smell the gas at levels of 0.0005 parts per billion to 0.3 parts per million, it takes much higher levels to pose an immediate threat to human health.”

Calaveras Health Officer, Dr. Rene Ramirez, adds, “At this time, the hydrogen sulfide gas concentrations found at the Utica Mine are at mildly elevated levels. Prolonged exposure may cause a range of mild symptoms which may be compounded in sensitive individuals, those with underlying health issues or respiratory problems, young children or elderly adults. Those who live or work near the area should be cautious about the possible signs and symptoms that hydrogen sulfide exposure can cause. The best way to avoid harm is to keep clear of the Utica Mine entrance and Angels Creek while the hydrogen sulfide is detected.”

Symptoms of exposure can include eye and throat irritation, difficulty breathing, headaches, and memory loss. Anyone who experiences symptoms should contact their medical provider. Those with emergencies should call 911.

Signs are up at Angels Creek noting that it is closed until further notice. The county adds that frequent water and air monitoring will occur to ensure that concentrations do not reach harmful levels.