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EPA, DOJ, MDEQ and Atlantic Richfield announce 2020 Partial Consent Decree for the Anaconda Smelter NPL site

10/23/2020
Contact Information: 
Dana Barnicoat (barnicoat.dana@epa.gov)
406-560-6261

Helena, Montana (October 23, 2020) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and in collaboration with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), announced the lodging of the 2020 Partial Consent Decree for the Anaconda Smelter NPL Site with the United States District Court. This document provides for the continued cleanup of copper smelting-related contamination to protect public health and the environment in Anaconda-Deer Lodge County. In particular, the Consent Decree requires Atlantic Richfield to take actions to remediate surface water and smelter slag piles at the Anaconda Site. It also provides for implementation of an operations and maintenance plan to stabilize and ensure the viability of the Old Works Golf Course in Anaconda, which was constructed in the 1990’s on a smelter waste area as a Superfund remedy.  AR will provide financial assurances for its cleanup actions and continue its other cleanup actions at the Site pursuant to existing administrative orders, pending negotiation of an Anaconda sitewide consent decree with EPA, DOJ, and MDEQ. 

“I am very pleased to announce the release of the proposed 2020 Partial Consent Decree for the Anaconda Smelter NPL Site,” said EPA Regional Administrator Gregory Sopkin. “Over the last several decades, EPA and MDEQ have made great strides in ensuring the cleanup of open space, residential areas, creeks and groundwater by Atlantic Richfield throughout Anaconda-Deer Lodge County. This cleanup of contaminated soils that impact surface waters and remediation of the largest slag piles at Anaconda builds on that progress.”

"The enforceable commitments in the proposed consent decree will ensure the long-term viability of the Anaconda cleanup,” said EPA Associate Deputy Administrator Douglas Benevento. “This announcement today is another step forward in the ongoing cleanup of Anaconda and I applaud the work of the negotiating teams from DOJ, EPA, MDEQ, and Atlantic Richfield to complete this important agreement. We look forward to continuing the negotiation process on a final sitewide consent decree to complete the cleanup of the Anaconda Site.”

In particular, the Consent Decree requires Atlantic Richfield to take actions to remediate surface water and smelter slag piles at the Anaconda Site. It also provides for implementation of an operations and maintenance plan to stabilize and ensure the viability of the Old Works Golf Course in Anaconda, which was constructed in the 1990s on a smelter waste area as a Superfund remedy. Atlantic Richfield will provide financial assurances for its cleanup actions and continue its other cleanup actions at the Site pursuant to existing administrative orders, pending negotiation of an Anaconda sitewide consent decree with EPA, DOJ and MDEQ. 

The U.S. DOJ will publish a formal notice of the lodging of the Consent Decree in the Federal Register, stating that the U.S. DOJ is accepting public comment on the document for a period of 30 days from the date the notice is published.  

Under state law, the MDEQ is also required to hold a public comment period on the consent decree, which will run concurrently. The U.S. DOJ, EPA, MDEQ and Atlantic Richfield have posted the document on their websites.

For more, visit EPA's Anaconda Superfund site page.