BUTTE – Montana Resources had five years to stop the rise of the toxic water in the Berkeley Pit. They are now ready to do within a year.
“The decision was made to address these concerns sooner rather than later. You know, it’s time that we demonstrate that we can control the pit,” said Mark Thompson of Montana Resources.
2023 was the deadline for the company begins to implement its plan to stop the water from rising, where it would near the level of spilling into the city’s groundwater.
“Montana Resources and Atlantic Richfield Company are committed to holding the pit at its current water level and never letting it get much higher or closer to the critical water level,” Thompson said.
By late this year or early 2019, MR will pump water from the pit and treat it to remove harmful toxins.
“We’re using the water as part of the mining process and then discharging. The Berkeley Pit water is going to the tailings impoundment and then we’re going to discharge water out of the tailings impoundment,” Thompson said.
After the pit water has been treated at the Horseshoe Bend facility and again at the tailings pond, the water will be transported via a pipeline and emptied into this portion of Blacktail Creek near Montana Street.
“It’s perfectly safe to human health and the environment, we have very stringent discharge standards that we have to meet,” he said.
Concerned citizens like Fritz Daily, who have been actively involved in Butte’s superfund issue for years, are happy with this new development.
“And I think that’s really important, it’s going to stop it at a level that’s about 60 feet lower than what was projected to happen in about five years,” Daily said.
Reporting by John Emeigh for MTN News