The 2013 print edition of PitWatch included the following photo from the Montana Bureau of Mines & Geology (MBMG), intended to show the current water level relative to the Critical Water Level. Some PitWatch readers asked for a version of this image that used a current photo of the Berkeley water level, and MBMG created this new image to better […]

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Set by the U.S. EPA and Montana DEQ, the Critical Water Level, 5,410 feet, marks the point where full-scale pumping and treating of Berkeley Pit water will begin. The level represents the lowest level in the Butte Basin, the stream bottom of Silver Bow Creek. It was set to prevent any contamination from moving into surface and groundwater. The critical […]

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Could the Berkeley Pit ever overflow?

The Berkeley Pit will never overflow. In 1994 the EPA established the Critical Water Level (the maximum level the water will be allowed to reach) at 5,410 feet above sea level, which is one hundred feet below the rim. Water levels are regularly monitored at the Pit, in historic underground mines, and in wells surrounding the Pit. Failure to keep […]

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Has the Critical Water Level been changed?

No. The Critical Water Level is still 5,410 feet above sea level. The regulatory officials remain convinced that the situation is safe and under control as long as the water stays below 5,410 feet. Pumping and treatment of the water must be well underway when the water approaches this elevation in the Pit or in any of the bedrock monitoring […]

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Many factors, both economic and scientific, affected this decision. Berkeley Pit water poses no human health risk prior to reaching the critical level.

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