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Moving Forward

An enormous amount of environmental cleanup and reclamation work has been done in Butte-Silver Bow County, Montana, by a great many people over the last 30-plus years.1

Atlantic Richfield Company’s remediation work in the Butte Priority Soils Operable Unit (BPSOU) has focused on two tasks: (i) remediation of the historic mining landscape to limit human contact with metals and to prevent mining waste from eroding into the creek corridor, and (ii) remediation in and around the creek corridor to improve water quality significantly in Silver Bow Creek.2

Atlantic Richfield Company’s remediation work has been completed at the direction of US EPA, after consultation with the State of Montana. Further information about the process that US EPA uses to select, construct and operate environmental remedies is available on the Legal page of this website. While we have made great progress, there is more work to be done.3 On April 11, 2019, the US EPA released a proposal for a modified remedy that is supported by Atlantic Richfield. On February 4, 2020, US EPA amended the remedy for the BPSOU. On February 13, 2020, US EPA, the State of Montana, the consolidated City and County government of Butte-Silver Bow (BSB) and Atlantic Richfield Company announced a proposed partial Consent Decree for the BPSOU. If the Consent Decree is approved by the BSB Commissioners, and if it is also approved by the court following a period of public comment, then the following work will be performed to complete portions of the BPSOU remedy and related projects in the creek corridor. This includes work to:

  • Remove additional mining waste from the creek corridor area.
  • Further improve water quality in Silver Bow and Blacktail creeks.
  • Prepare property owned by Atlantic Richfield and BSB to be developed as a 120-acre chain of open green space and recreational areas along the Blacktail and Silver Bow Creek corridors, integrating the remedy with community land use plans.
  • Provide funds for the State to complete a coordinated remedy and restoration project in the Blacktail Creek area.

Atlantic Richfield Pre-Design Investigation at Diggings East

Atlantic Richfield Company is currently conducting a pre-design investigation to further characterize the groundwater below the open space area known as Diggings East. As a result of this work, George St. will be temporarily closed to through traffic.

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Mining and Remediation

As early as the 1860s, prospectors began flocking to the Summit Valley in search of wealth and opportunity. Over 150 years of mining and mineral processing followed. The Butte mines have employed many thousands of people to produce the copper and other minerals needed to win two world wars and provide a growing nation with copper for electrification and other essential services and products. Mining also altered the landscape and generated large volumes of waste that must be reclaimed and remediated when mining ends. Now a collaborative effort has developed a proposal for a final phase of remedy work that seeks to complete the environmental remediation for Butte's historic (former) mining sites.5  read more ›

 

Completing the Remedy

US EPA, the State of Montana, the consolidated City and County government of Butte-Silver Bow (BSB) and Atlantic Richfield Company have announced a proposed partial Consent Decree for the Butte Priority Soils (BPSOU) site. If the proposed Consent Decree is approved by the BSB Commissioners, and if it is subsequently approved by the federal court after a period for public comments, then the Consent Decree will provide for further work to construct, operate and maintain an amended remedy that is consistent with the proposed plan US EPA presented in April 2019. The work will include additional restoration and redevelopment in the creek corridor, transforming the landscape in the heart of Butte. read more ›

 

Community Resources

More information on the Butte Priority Soils remediation can be found by visiting websites maintained by government and non-profit organizations. See our Community Resources page for a list of links. read more ›