Butte Priority Soils Operable Unit
What is a Remedy?
In Superfund, a remedy is something that addresses historic substance releases to protect human health and the environment. For the purposes of the BPSOU CD, the remedy will address wastes generated during historic mining operations and further protect the environment.
Completing the Remedy
What Will the Modified Remedy Accomplish?
The US EPA, the State of Montana, the consolidated City and County government of Butte-Silver Bow (BSB) and Atlantic Richfield Company agreed to a Consent Decree for the Butte Priority Soils (BPSOU) site, and the Consent Decree has been approved by the US federal judge with jurisdiction over the site. The Consent Decree provides for further work to construct, operate and maintain an amended remedy that is consistent with the proposed plan US EPA presented in April 2019. The work will include additional restoration and redevelopment in the creek corridor, transforming the landscape in the heart of Butte. The elements are described in detail in Attachment C to the Consent Decree Statement of Work. The work to be completed at each site is also described in the Locations tab below.
Public participation has been an important part of the process to develop this Consent Decree. Multiple public meetings were held to discuss the proposed plan and how it will fit into the public’s preferred future use of the creek corridor area. Public input and comments were received, detailed information was provided on US EPA’s website, and agency officials responded to questions from the public. This input was incorporated into the final Consent Decree and helped to define the work to be completed.
What happens now?
Now that the Consent Decree has been approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, Atlantic Richfield will complete the remedies described in the consent decree, completing portions of the cleanup work that have been underway for more than 30 years. The work will strengthen environmental protection for, and improve water quality in, Blacktail and Silver Bow Creeks. Atlantic Richfield Company will also convert impacted areas in the creek corridor into open public spaces, constructing trails, greenspace and other amenities for the community in the area between Casey Street and the former Butte Reduction Works. You can view the conceptual end land use plan for each site at the Locations tab below.
From constructed wetland and water features in the stormwater treatment system, to reconstructed stream segments that will improve water quality, aquatic and wetland habitat, the environmental remedies and related projects described in the proposed Consent Decree have been customized to reflect Butte’s natural features and history. More stormwater and groundwater will be collected and treated before it reaches Silver Bow Creek. More stream areas will be remediated. Related land use plans will allow land once used for industrial and municipal waste disposal to be redeveloped as park and open space for the community to enjoy.
This combination of remedy, restoration and public use projects would complete much of the remedy at this unique site, transforming land around the creek corridor that runs through the heart of Butte. The Consent Decree also resolves long-standing differences over liability and the scope of an effective and sustainable remedy. Collectively, these actions would provide enduring benefits to the community in Butte.