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Officials announce cleanup on part of the Anaconda Superfund site is complete

The Washoe Smelter Stack in Anaconda, MT.
Nora Saks
The Washoe Smelter Stack in Anaconda, MT.

Federal officials said cleanup on part of the Anaconda Smelter Superfund site is complete. Arsenic contamination at the site forced the relocation of an entire neighborhood in the 1980’s.

More than 30 years after residents evacuated Mill Creek, the area unit has been deleted from the Superfund’s National Priorities List. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator KC Becker called the deletion a major milestone.

The relocation of around 30 people in the Mill Creek Neighborhood was the EPA’s first action taken on the site contaminated by years of smelting pollution.

Charlie Coleman was the EPA project manager at the site for decades and recalled the decision to relocate residents in an interview with MTPR earlier this year.

“It was kind of an emotional decision, created a little bit of fear in the community, you know, is this what Superfund is all about?” Coleman said.

Mill Creek marks the 4th unit deletion at the Anaconda Smelter Superfund site and cleanup efforts in the other units are expected to be completed in the next few years. The cleanup is paid for by Atlantic Richfield, who purchased the smelter facilities in 1977.

The EPA and Atlantic Richfield will continue to observe and maintain all remediation at the site.

John joined the Montana Public Radio team in August 2022. Born and raised in Helena, he graduated from the University of Montana’s School of Media Arts and created the Montana history podcast Land Grab. John can be contacted at
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