Montana DEQ provides update on Upper Blackfoot Mining Complex cleanup

Posted at 1:06 PM, Dec 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-15 15:06:06-05

HELENA – Clean up on the Upper Blackfoot Mining Site near Lincoln has stopped for the season, and according to the Montana Department of Environmental Equality, winterization activities are complete.

The DEQ hosted an open house in Lincoln Thursday night with representatives from the Forest Service and Natural Resource Damage Program.

There were also experts from Pioneer Technical Services and Missouri River Contractors.

Project manager Dave Bowers said the open house was a chance for people to look at the scientific side of the work done at the site in 2018.

“To be able to do something like this tonight, offers something a little bit different,” he said. “We’re not just saying, ‘here’s what we’ve done,’ but here’s kind of how we do it, and having people to have a chance to ask questions.”

This year, DEQ said they removed 171,310 cubic yards of contaminated material from the banks and floodplains of the Blackfoot River and its tributaries. That brings total removals to 870,000 cubic yards since the work started in 2014.

They estimate by the end of the 2019 construction season, they will have removed at least one million cubic yards of waste.

The DEQ said in 2019, remediation work for the project will be completed under the existing contract with Missouri River Contractors.

Restoration work will be completed under a separate contract and starts next year.

According to a site update provided by the DEQ, this year they were able to construct a new stream channel from the confluence of Mike Horse and Beartrap creeks to the water treatment plant. Next, they have to remove temporary construction road and complete floodplain restoration.

They also removed contaminates from a portion of the river from the water treatment plant to an area upstream of the Midnight Cabin. That area is called “Additive Alternative A.”

In “Additive Alternative B,” they began hauling waste, but did not complete it so the process will continue next year.

To learn more, you can visit the Department of Justice’s website. 

-Reported by Evelyn Schultz/MTN News