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Sites in Reuse in Montana

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Anaconda Co. Smelter Alternative Energy

The Anaconda Co. Smelter Superfund site is a former copper smelter located in southwest Montana. The 300-square-mile site includes the towns of Anaconda and Opportunity. From 1884 to 1980, the smelter provided a reliable source of local jobs and revenue. It served as the cornerstone of the town and its economy. The smelter had a national reputation as one of the leading producers of copper. However, in 1980 the smelter closed and left more than 300 square miles of soil and water contaminated with heavy metals from almost a century of copper mining. The contamination devastated the community and its aquatic systems, threatening the nearby blue ribbon trout population. In 1983, EPA added the site to the National Priorities List (NPL). EPA also formed a strong partnership with the community, ARCO (property owners of the former smelting facility), the state and Deer Lodge County. Together, these stakeholders designed and implemented a cleanup and redevelopment plan for the area. Since cleanup began, 250 acres have been re-vegetated and redeveloped into a 21-hole golf course. Designed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus, the course combines beautiful landscaping with historic mining artifacts. The design also includes an interpretive trail that winds around the golf course. A water drainage system recycles water and traps rainwater for irrigation of the golf course and surrounding property. For years, Anaconda relied on the golf course, Superfund jobs and state facilities to stay afloat. Recently, new development has begun on the site. The Butte-based Community, Counseling, and Correctional Services Inc. recently completed a $12.3 million facility on the site and will employ 51 people. In addition, NorthWestern Energy completed the Mill Creek substation and generating stations on the site in 2010. NorthWestern Energy anticipates that the $200 million generating station will employ about 11 people during the station’s operation. The station will provide about $1.6 million per year in operating wage and employee benefits and generate about $8 million per year in property taxes. Anaconda, Opportunity and the surrounding areas are also experiencing significant commercial and residential growth because of projects coordinated with the site’s cleanup. In addition, EPA coordinated the cleanup of property in Opportunity with the development of a local park. Deer Lodge County constructed the park using congressional funding directly related to redevelopment and Superfund contamination. Future development projects could include wind generation, commercial slag reuse and an educational campus for the developmentally disabled.
Updated 2/2013

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Burlington Northern Livingston Shop Complex

The Burlington Northern Livingston Shop Complex (BNLSC) facility is located primarily within the City of Livingston about 100 miles west of Billings, Montana. The facility is about 2 miles long and 0.5 mile wide. The facility includes an active rail yard with locomotive and rail car repair and maintenance shops. The Northern Pacific Railroad constructed the BNLSC facility in 1883. Historical uses included machine shops, a powerhouse, a passenger depot, a turntable, a roundhouse and a fuel depot for passenger and freight trains. Historical waste treatment, storage and disposal practices contaminated soils and ground water in the Livingston Aquifer. This aquifer supplies municipal drinking water to the city. Operations at the facility ceased in 1986. Operations resumed a year later when Montana Rail Link (MRL) purchased a portion of the site. Livingston Rebuild Center purchased a portion of the site in 1988; however, MRL purchased that portion of the rail yard in 2007. MRL currently repairs locomotives on the rail yard. MRL is also working with the City of Livingston and the state to sell the former Livingston Rebuild Center property to another commercial/industrial operator. From 1988 through 1994, Burlington Northern Railroad (now the BNSF Railway Company (BNSF)) performed numerous cleanup activities at the site. These activities included the removal of petroleum underground storage tanks, piping, and some subsurface and surface contaminated soils. EPA proposed the site to the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1994. Although EPA never listed the site on the final NPL, the state is addressing the facility as a state Superfund site. Since 1994, BNSF has performed additional investigations and cleanup activities. The state issued a cleanup plan for the facility in 2001 and is currently requiring BNSF to carry out the cleanup. The state required that BNSF conduct a large vapor intrusion investigation in and around the rail yard. The facility is also investigating high amounts of solvents in the bedrock aquifer beneath the rail yard. BNSF constructed a large system to clean up petroleum in soil and ground water at the facility. BNSF expanded this system in 2012 to address the entire petroleum plume. BNSF recycles the recovered oil as industrial fuel.
Updated 2/2013

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East Helena Site Alternative Energy
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The East Helena Superfund site is located in East Helena, Montana. The site includes a former lead smelter, the town of East Helena, several residential subdivisions and surrounding rural agricultural lands. Operated by Asarco, the smelter functioned from 1888 until 2001 as the engine of the local economy. The smelter helped to define the community’s heritage. Smelter operations also led to the surface contamination of significant portions of the former smelter facility, East Helena and the surrounding county and ground water contamination. As a result, EPA added the site to the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1984. Cleanup efforts began in the early 1990s when Asarco conducted soil removal in residential yards in East Helena. These efforts continued until 2011. Other remedial activities included replacing leaking equipment, excavating and storing contaminated soil and pond sediments, and treating contaminated process water. Cleanup activities continue. In 2009, the City of East Helena sought to position itself for future growth and development by annexing formerly Asarco-owned lands outside its city boundary. The community is now evaluating future land use, growth and development options. To support the community, EPA and the Montana Environmental Trust Group (trustee for the site after the 2009 Asarco bankruptcy) coordinated remediation, local planning and development. The EPA Superfund Redevelopment Initiative funded a community planning charrette and reuse planning process. The reuse planning process included a daylong workshop held in May 2011. The workshop engaged 45 representatives from the local community in developing a vision and set of revitalization strategies for East Helena. These efforts are helping local government stakeholders, property owners, the Montana Environmental Trust Group, EPA and its partner agencies shape and coordinate cleanup, planning and development across three specific focus areas: land use and development, cultural heritage, and habitat and recreation.
Updated 2/2013

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Milltown Reservoir Sediments
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A new chapter has begun in the history of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers in western Montana. The area’s remarkable natural resources have sustained communities, including the Bitterroot Salish, Pend d’Oreille and Kootenai tribes, for generations. From the 1860s until the late 20th century, the area was also part of one of the richest mining regions in the world. These operations generated waste and caused area-wide contamination. In 1983, EPA listed the area known as the Milltown Reservoir Sediments site on the National Priorities List (NPL). In 1995, EPA added the Clark Fork River portion of the site. Together, these areas comprise the Milltown Reservoir/Clark Fork River Superfund site. Cleanup of the Clark Fork River portion is underway, led by the State of Montana. Other site cleanup included the removal of contaminated reservoir sediments to restore drinking water and the removal of the historic Milltown Dam in 2010. Other cleanup goals included restoration of the local fishery and fish passage. Throughout the project, EPA worked with local communities and federal, state and tribal partners on a coordinated approach linking cleanup, restoration and redevelopment at the site. Assisted by an EPA Superfund Redevelopment Initiative pilot grant and EPA support, the communities developed a reuse plan. The plan called for the creation of a state park with trails, river access, wildlife habitat and interpretive areas celebrating the region’s history and heritage. In 2010, the State of Montana acquired portions of the site for the new state park, recently anticipated to open in 2014. The state allocated funding for the park’s development and land acquisitions. Several trails exist in the area and the state has plans to link the new park with the larger community trail network and the newly renovated pedestrian bridge. The renovated “Black Bridge” over the Blackfoot River is now home to the new Milltown Bridge Market, a local farmer’s market. In 2005, the Clark Fork Coalition also began managing a sustainable cattle ranch on the Clark Fork River portion of the site. In 2011 and 2012, the site was reclaimed and the flood plain restored to a naturally functioning, self-sustaining river ecosystem. Site stakeholders will continue to monitor the drinking water supply, the fishery and the Clark Fork River floodplain.
Updated 2/2013

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Silver Bow Creek/Butte Area Alternative Energy Green Infrastructure
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The Silver Bow Creek Superfund site is located in Butte, Montana. The history of the site dates to the late 1800s, when mining crews deposited wastes here from the copper smelters in the Butte area. For 60 years, miners dumped their wastes into streams and wetlands near mining operations, severely polluting ponds and soil. As a result, EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1983. Working together, EPA, ARCO and the community returned the site property to productive use, improving local quality of life and restoring the environment. ARCO removed the tailings and the contaminated sediment from the ponds, then capped and re-vegetated the area in preparation for the new recreational fields. Crews restored wetlands that now serve as a key habitat for osprey and migrating Canadian geese. The Butte Natural Resource Damage (NRD) Restoration Council approved funds for the purchase and planting of trees in the new community park area on the site. Park trails run through the site, linking a system of historic preservation sites in Butte and Walkerville called Montana’s Copperway. Park features include a sports complex with youth baseball fields, a driving range and volleyball court, walking trails with interpretive signs and stations, public restrooms and picnic areas. Restoration efforts are both historic, such as the Granite Mountain Memorial area memorializing the 2,500 men who died in the Butte area mines, and creative, such as the Butte Hill Trail walking path that utilizes an abandoned railroad bed.
Updated 2/2013

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