If you’ve been wondering what’s going on with the Butte Priority Soils Superfund site, Thursday night provides a chance to catch up.
The Citizens Technical Environmental Committee is holding a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the Bus Transfer Station, north of the Butte Civic Center on Harrison Avenue.
John Wardell, director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Montana office, is expected to attend, along with Sara Sparks, EPA project manager for the site.
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“It’s been a year since we’ve really heard from EPA regarding the proposed plan that they’re considering,” said Scott Payne, lead technical adviser for CTEC. “We’d like to know what’s going on and why is it taking so long?” Payne said the meeting will also provide one last chance for people to comment on what they’d like to see in the final decision. EPA’s public comment period ended nearly a year ago, but comments could still affect the Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s position, Payne said.
“They do have influence,” he said of the state officials who will soon start reviewing EPA’s draft record of decision.
Major issues within the 5-square-mile site include how to address mine-waste-contaminated dust that’s worked its way into old homes and how to best treat stormwater and groundwater contaminated with heavy metals.
Another controversial issue is whether to remove millions of cubic yards of contaminated tailings that lie mainly underneath the county shop complex east of the Civic Center.
“It’s just an opportunity for the community to have a voice again,” Payne said of the meeting. “The site covers a big chunk of Butte and it seems like the community needs to keep a pulse on what’s going on.” — Roberta Forsell Stauffer, The Montana Standard