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EPA, along with the Justice Department, announces the release of the Butte Priority Soils Operable Unit (BPSOU) consent decree. This document provides the framework for the continued cleanup of mining-related contamination to protect public health and the environment in Butte and Walkerville, Montana.

Additionally, EPA Region 8 is releasing a Record of Decision amendment, which expands the cleanup decisions made in the 2006 BPSOU Record of Decision. It includes requirements to remove contaminated tailings at the Northside and Diggings East Tailings areas, contaminated sediment and additional floodplain contamination from Silver Bow and Blacktail Creeks, treat more contaminated stormwater before it flows into the creeks, and capture and treat additional contaminated groundwater. Once executed by the parties and entered by the court, the consent decree will implement this amended remedy.

View the consent decree, record of decision and associated documents »

The release of the consent decree will allow the commissioners of Butte Silver Bow County—who must approve the document before it can be submitted to the court—to consider the document in a public forum. This process allows Butte Silver Bow County to inform and educate the public and the county commissioners regarding the content of the consent decree. Once that process concludes, the county commissioners will vote on approving the document.

Once all required signatures are obtained, the consent decree documents will be lodged with the federal district court of Montana. The Justice Department will publish a formal notice in the Federal Register, stating that the department is accepting public comment on the document for a period of thirty days from the date the notice is published. Under state law, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality is also required to hold a public comment period on the consent decree, which will run concurrently.

While the public comment period will not start until after the consent decree is lodged with the court, EPA, the state, Butte Silver Bow County, and Atlantic Richfield have posted the document on their websites, and paper copies will be available for public review at the Montana Tech Library, 1300 W. Park St., and at the Citizens Technical Environmental Committee, 27 W. Park St.

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Community Resources

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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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