Montana Public Radio

Joe Griffin

The historic Silver Bow Creek channel in Butte was an industrial sewer for over a century, and now conveys storm water seasonally. February 15, 2018.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Butte’s local government approved an overarching $150 million Superfund cleanup deal on Wednesday. This marks a new chapter for the Mining City, which has been on the nation’s list of most toxic sites since the 1980s.

Retired hydrogeologist Joe Griffin stands next to a groundwater sampling well in Butte's Upper Silver Bow Creek corridor. January 24, 2018.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Last week the Environmental Protection Agency released the changes they want to make to the 2006 legal Record of Decision (ROD) which governs the Superfund cleanup of the Butte Hill and Upper Silver Bow Creek corridor.

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.

EPA

A top official from the Environmental Protection Agency will be in Butte Wednesday to explain the proposed Superfund cleanup plan that was made partially public by a federal judge last week.

The final cleanup agreement, or consent decree, will cover most of the city and its land and water. The EPA has been negotiating it with state and local governments and industry in secret for the last 12 years. Now, those parties can share details of the plan for finishing a big portion of Butte’s Superfund cleanup.