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Butte Priority Soils Operable Unit: Surface Water Technical Impracticability Evaluation

The Butte Priority Soils operable unit (BPSOU) Record of Decision (ROD) identifies in-stream performance standards for surface water within the BPSOU. EPA and MDEQ have determined that it is necessary to waive and replace certain state surface water standards that prove to be technically impracticable to achieve at BPSOU. Any state aquatic life standard that is waived would be replaced with a federal surface water criterion promulgated under the Clean Water Act for the protection of aquatic life. A draft Technical Impracticability (TI) Evaluation document has been prepared that address the issues in more detail.

The draft TI Evaluation and forthcoming proposed plan for a ROD Amendment will be subject to public input and comment before final decisions are made. A 60-day public comment period will be announced by public notice upon release of the proposed plan, during which the public will have several opportunities to provide formal comment. Current plans estimate the proposed plan will be released in December 2018. That time frame is subject to revision as EPA and MDEQ go through an internal review process.

Other future cleanup actions include:

  • The Blacktail Berm, Northside Tailings, and Diggings East tailings, waste, and contaminated soils removals will be performed.
  • Butte Reduction Works (BRW) tailings, waste, sediments and contaminated soils removals to be performed under remedy to provide for a clean floodplain, and the Silver Bow Creek relocation to be reconstructed through BRW corridor.
  • Removal of sediments and floodplain waste along Blacktail Creek from Grove Gulch through the confluence with upper Silver Bow Creek will occur.
  • Parrot Tailings to be removed under State Restoration.
  • Construction of additional stormwater basins and sedimentation bays.
  • Groundwater capture near the visitor’s center and slag canyon to further protect surface water quality.
  • Community visioning and participation to develop end land use options through the corridor.
  • Additional reclamation of mining impacted sites in BPSOU.

View the narrative summaries and other related documents on the proposed future cleanup actions »

EPA will hold additional availability sessions and meet with other interested stakeholders to provide more detailed information and solicit public input on the information released.

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Public Participation Opportunities

Comment on the proposed future cleanup actions in the Butte Priority Soils Operable Unit »

Note: The comments submitted via the link above do not constitute formal public comments for proposed future cleanup actions. Opportunity for formal comments will be solicited when EPA announces a public comment period for the upcoming Proposed Plan for a Record of Decision Amendment.

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Community Resources

The following links exit the site Exit

Pit Watch is a website that monitors the water levels in the Berkeley Pit and provides information about the history and cleanup of the site to the public.

Citizens Technical Environmental Committee (CTEC) is a group of volunteer citizens who work with EPA, the State of Montana, responsible parties, and others to make the Superfund process and cleanup decisions in the Butte and Clark Fork Basin area of Montana understandable to everyone. CTEC manages a website that provides a listing of updates and recent news.

Atlantic Richfield’s Butte Cleanup Data Site is a website where the public can find information and data about the remediation of the Butte Priority Soils Superfund site.

The City and County of Butte-Silver Bow maintains a Superfund Division Web page that includes information and resources about the Superfund designation in Butte and the Residential Metals Abatement Program.

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