As of August 5, 2015, the Pit’s water level was 5,326.01 feet above sea level. The water rose about 0.82 feet in the past month, and 4.7 feet to date in 2015. In 2014 the water rose 6.95 feet, and in 2013 the water rose 8.12 feet. Since PitWatch was first published in 1996, the water has risen about 190 feet.

When water levels at one of the monitoring compliance points around the Pit reach the Critical Level of 5,410 feet, pumping and treating of Pit water will begin. Current projections estimate that the Critical Level will be reached around 2023. Full monitoring reports and data are also available. The current level is 83.99 feet below the Critical Level.

The graphics below show the water level elevation of the Berkeley Pit in context, compared to other water levels in the Berkeley Pit monitoring and compliance system, and compared to the elevations of local landmarks around Butte, Montana. All data is from August, 2015.

Water levels in these graphics are updated on a semi-annual basis. For the most current Berkeley Pit water levels, refer to the figure at the top of this page, the “Berkeley Pit Water Level” sidebar on the right on most pages of the site, or to monthly monitoring reports.

This image illustrates how Berkeley Pit and compliance point water levels, with the lowest elevations in the area, act as a sink that collects groundwater. The image also includes a timeline of important Berkeley Pit dates, past and present.

This image illustrates how Berkeley Pit and compliance point water levels, with the lowest elevations in the area, act as a sink that collects groundwater. The Pit water level is from August 2015. The image also includes a timeline of important Berkeley Pit dates, past and present. Click on the image to view a larger version.

 

The illustration shows water levels in the Berkeley Pit and Pilot Butte mine shaft (a monitoring compliance point) over time.

The illustration above shows water levels in the Berkeley Pit and Pilot Butte mine shaft (a monitoring compliance point) over time. The Pit has been filling with water more slowly than predicted in the 1994 EPA Record of Decision for the site.

 

Selected Berkeley Pit system monitoring locations and water levels

Selected Berkeley Pit groundwater monitoring locations and water levels, including wells and abandoned mine shafts, August 2015.

 

Elevations above sea level for Berkeley Pit water and surrouding Butte, Montana landmarks. Map image from Google Earth, graphic by Justin Ringsak.

Elevations above sea level for Berkeley Pit water and surrounding Butte, Montana landmarks. Image from Google Earth, water level data from June 2013. Click on the image to view a larger version.