What is ‘Superfund’?

Butte has the dubious distinction of being at the upper end of the largest complex of federal Superfund sites in the U.S. This Superfund complex extends from Butte and Anaconda 120 miles down the Clark Fork River to Missoula. The word “Superfund” is tossed around a lot by local and state officials working in the Clark Fork Basin, but, to […]

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What is an ‘Operable Unit’?

An operable unit is a subsection of a larger EPA Federal Superfund site. There are four Operable Units (OUs) in the Butte mining district.  The Butte Mine Flooding Operable Unit, which includes the Berkeley Pit, the hydraulically-connected underground mine workings associated with the historic East Camp and West Camp tunnel systems, associated bedrock, and alluvial aquifers. The area covers approximately […]

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PitWatch Issue Volume 9, Number 1 The community has many common misconceptions about the Berkeley Pit. This section will address a few of those most often heard false statements and try to set the record straight. Myth: The Pit Will Overflow. Fact: There are two reasons why the Pit will never overflow. First, the 1994 Record of Decision and 2002 […]

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When the Horseshoe Bend Water Treatment Plant starts operating later this year, the contaminated waters from the Berkeley Pit and underground mines should be managed safely for years to come. In the meantime, another cleanup project – called the Butte Priority Soils Operable Unit – is just now reaching its critical decision point (i.e., the Record of Decision, scheduled by […]

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On August 14, 2002, U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon signed the Mine Flooding Consent Decree between the Atlantic Richfield Company (Arco), the Montana Resources Group (MR), the U.S. EPA, the State of Montana (DEQ) and the U.S. Department of Justice. The Consent Decree was released for public review on March 26, 2002, with a May 4 deadline to submit […]

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