Anaconda Smelter

The Anaconda Smelter Superfund Site area, including various Operable Units and contaminated areas. Portions of the site have been reclaimed, while in other areas work remains to be done. EPA and the primary Potentially Responsible Party for the site, BP-ARCO, continue to dispute details and liability of the cleanup. Map from the EPA Fourth Five Year Review Report for the site (2010).

The Anaconda Smelter Superfund Site area, including various Operable Units and contaminated areas. Portions of the site have been reclaimed, while in other areas work remains to be done. EPA and the primary Potentially Responsible Party for the site, BP-ARCO, continue to dispute details and liability of the cleanup. Map from the EPA Fourth Five Year Review Report for the site (2010).

In September 1983, the EPA placed the area associated with the historic Anaconda Smelter, just east of the town of Anaconda, on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). Consulting with the State of Montana and coordinating with Atlantic Richfield, or BP-ARCO, the primary Potentially Responsible Party for the site, EPA began investigations into the extent of contamination.

In the 30 years since, removals and cleanup actions have reduced human health risks at the site, but many concerns, and much contamination, remain. BP-ARCO’s liability and EPA’s costs are the subject of ongoing litigation.

The historic Anaconda Smelter processed copper ore from the Butte mines.

The historic Anaconda Smelter processed copper ore from the Butte mines.

At 585 feet tall, the Anaconda Smelter stack is a local landmark, and the largest freestanding brick chimney in the world. It was constructed more than 100 years ago, when public outcry and a need for low-cost timber forced smelting operations to move from the mines of Butte to nearby Anaconda, a community established by Copper King Marcus Daly.

The Anaconda Site is divided into a number of different Operable Units, and is as complex as Silver Bow Creek/Butte Site. Detailed information on the various Operable Units within the Anaconda Site, Records of Decision, and ongoing cleanup is available from the EPA, or from the Arrowhead Foundation, the EPA-funded TAG group for the Anaconda Area. The latest EPA Update (2011) on the site is also available to download.

In 2010, EPA issued the Fourth Five Year Review Report for the site, available to download here:

In September 2011, EPA also issued an Amendment to the 1998 Anaconda Regional Water, Waste & Soils Operable Unit (OU4) Record of Decision.

In February 2012, EPA issued a Focused Feasibility Study Final Report, Community Soils Operable Unit.

The Anaconda Smelter stack and surrounding Superfund area (2009).

The Anaconda Smelter stack and surrounding Superfund area (2009).

 

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