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Butte Superfund Deal Moves Forward With Court Filing

This culvert and forebay are part of Butte's stormwater capture and treatment and system, which will be expanded and completed in the proposed Superfund cleanup plan. May 28, 2019.
Nora Saks
Montana Public Radio

Butte’s proposed $150 million Superfund deal was filed with a federal district court, according to Monday’s announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency. It's a big leap forward for the mine waste cleanup in the works for the Mining City. 

Butte’s overarching Superfund settlement between the Environmental Protection Agency, the county, the state, and Atlantic Richfield, was released in February. Butte-Silver Bow voted to approve it last month.

The deal, or consent decree, cleared another major procedural hurdle when it was lodged with the district court.

Betsy Smidinger with EPA Region 8 said this means that after many years of tough negotiations and compromises, the parties are now “almost there.”

“This is a huge step in the process,” she said.

The cleanup deal calls for removing mine waste from Butte’s creek corridors, capturing and treating more dirty stormwater and groundwater, and building a 120-acre greenway.

Once it’s published in the federal register, the public will get 30 days to formally comment on the deal, which will then need final approval from the court.

Learn more about the past, present and future of one of America's most notorious Superfund sites, with Richest Hill.

Copyright 2020 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Nora Saks is a freelance radio and print journalist investigating themes of environmental justice in the Crown of the Continent and beyond.