Montana Public Radio

Atlantic Richfield

Evan Barrett, a member of Butte's local Restore Our Creek Coalition, looks at plans for the creek corridors with state budget director Dan Villa. August 30, 2018.
Nora Saks

On Thursday, August 30, about 60 people huddled around tables in the backroom of the Butte Brewing Company, not drinking, but pouring over maps of the Upper Silver Bow and Blacktail Creek corridors at the second in a series of community design workshops.

Dave Hutchins (L) and Daniel Hogan look over plans for the cleanup and restoration of the SIlver Bow Creek corridor with Julia Crain, a special projects planner with Butte-Silver Bow county's Superfund Division, June 12, 2018.
Nora Saks

This week, locals in Butte will have another chance to help design what the major creek corridors in town will look like after the Superfund cleanup is over.

The Upper Silver Bow and Blacktail Creek corridors, which run through the center of Butte, will probably look a lot different about five years from now.

Public tours of the Anaconda Smelter Stack are being offered to celebrate the stack's 100th anniversary. August 9, 2018.
Nora Saks

If you’ve ever driven through Southwest Montana on I-90, you’ve probably noticed the lone smoke stack standing sentinel near Anaconda. That’s the iconic Anaconda Smelter Stack - one of the tallest free-standing masonry structures in the world.

For over a century, the smelter processed copper ore from Butte, and the stack belched thick smoke out over the valley. The public has been forbidden from visiting it for nearly four decades. But this year, for it’s 100th anniversary, tours of the stack are being offered. I hopped on one Thursday.

Jeremy Grotbo, with Butte-Silver Bow County, points to a trail feature on a map of Silver Bow and Blacktail Creek corridors in Butte at the Community Design Workshop. August 7, 2018.
Nora Saks

Under the Superfund cleanup deal currently being negotiated for Butte, most of the historic mine waste lining the Upper Silver Bow and Blacktail Creek corridors that carve through town is slated to be removed and cleaned up.

But what these big parcels of land and water will look like, feel like, and are used for after the cleanup is over - is much more open-ended.

Dave Hutchins (L) and Daniel Hogan look over plans for the cleanup and restoration of the SIlver Bow Creek corridor with Julia Crain, a special projects planner with Butte-Silver Bow county's Superfund Division, June 12, 2018.
Nora Saks

This week, locals in Butte will have a chance to help shape the designs for what the major creek corridors in town will look like after the Superfund cleanup is over.

A portion of the area north and west of Deer Lodge where Montana's DEQ plans to start work this fall
Montana DEQ

Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality is preparing to haul 20,000 semi-truck loads of contaminated soil from the banks of the Clark Fork River in and around Deer Lodge.

L to R - Anaconda-Deer Lodge County Commissioner Terry Vermeire, County Chief Executive Bill Everett, EPA Region 8 Administrator Doug Benevento, State Budget Director Dan Villa,  Atlantic Richfield VP Patricia Gallery in Anaconda Tuesday night.
Nora Saks

Last night Anaconda residents got their first chance to hear about the conceptual Superfund cleanup agreement reached over the weekend with the Environmental Protection Agency, but few details were shared.

The Washoe Smelter Stack in Anaconda.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Over the weekend, the parties involved in Anaconda’s Superfund cleanup reached an “agreement in principle,” meeting the deadline set by the Environmental Protection Agency just in the nick of time. In April, an EPA regional administrator set a new deadline for a cleanup agreement of July 31.

That strategy worked. On Saturday night, the parties successfully reached a conceptual cleanup agreement for the Anaconda Smelter Superfund site.

EPA Regional Administrator Doug Benevento meeting with Anaconda residents on April 10, 2018
Nora Saks

The clock is ticking down for parties to reach a final cleanup agreement for Anaconda’s Superfund site. 

Headframe of the Original Mine in Butte, MT.
Nora Saks

The Environmental Protection Agency is about to launch its second study of public health concerns related to Butte’s Superfund sites. But When locals found out the scope of the plan at a public meeting Tuesday, some were disappointed.

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