Mexican Hat Waste Disposal Site, Mexican Hat, UT

Mexican Hat Waste Disposal Site, Mexican Hat, UT

1 of 1, archival inkjet print, 15"x82", 2010.

Consolidated radioactive waste site near the Arizona-Utah border. A total of 3.6 million cubic yards of residual, radioactive material is present.

During the development of my research project documenting uranium mining on the Navajo Nation I made various trips cutting across the region. One particular drive took me north through Monument Valley along Highway 8. The scenic landscape holds claim for the most photographed geological feature in world. If you make it to the Utah side, however, you may still pass this little-known site tucked into a valley running parallel to the highway. The disposal facility was a mill for uranium ore as well as a sulfur manufacturing plant in the 70's. This large-scale, photographic piece was exhibited with the installation, teeth as white as bone, exhibited at Modified Arts in 2010.

While in Mexican Hat I met Harlin Harrison Sr. at the single restaurant in town, alongside the San Juan River. Mr. Harrison worked as mill operator at the site for 8 years until the plant was closed in 1965. His family lives between the disposal site and the river all located within less than a half square mile. Mr. Harrison contributed an account of mining's impact on his family; please follow the link for a recording.

Harlin Harrison Sr.

 

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