The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in the US has released a ‘Record of Decision’ for final cleanup on non-federal lands at the Upper Blackfoot Mining Complex, a state superfund facility located about 15 miles east of Lincoln.
The cleanup will be led by the United States Forest Service (USFS) and Montana Natural Resource Damage Programme (NRDP), and is aimed at removing about one million cubic yards of tailings.
As part of the clean up, mine waste will also be eliminated to protect human health and the environment.
DEQ director Tom Livers said: "This decision will allow our team, in coordination with Natural Resources Damage Programme and the Forest Service, to begin implementing the final cleanup at the UBMC this summer.
"It is the icing on the cake for a project that is well under way and has already proven successful. We are very excited for this final piece to be put in place."
The Record of Decision will focus on the portions of the UBMC on non-federal land that includes portions of the Blackfoot River below the former Mike Horse dam and tailings impoundment.
The area also includes Upper Marsh at the confluence of Pass Creek and the Blackfoot River.
DEQ selected a combination of options for these lands within the UBMC in a bid to address physical hazards and to clean up soil, sediment, groundwater and surface water.
The department identified 13 separate areas based on physical location, habitat type, and waste sources and combined them into five evaluation areas to be cleaned up.
USFS already selected a cleanup for federal lands within the UBMC.
DEQ’s Record of Decision includes details pertaining to the preferred cleanup and a responsiveness summary that addresses the comments received during the comment period for the proposed plan that was released in October 2015.
Image: The cleanup will be performed to remove about one million cubic yards of tailings. Photo: courtesy of duron123/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.