EPA press conference

BUTTE -- After decades of hard work, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Justice, have released their plan to cleanup the nations largest Superfund Site in Butte at the Berkeley Pit

Residents in Butte can now read for themselves about the proposed cleanup of mine-related contamination in Butte and Walkerville.

County officials said Thursday was a monumental day for Butte, as dozens of eager people gathered at the Finlen Hotel to learn the details of the EPA's consent decree.

The decree requires Atlantic Richfield to finance over $150 million in cleanup actions, and for future cleanup in Butte. The agreement comes 13 years after the EPA released its original remedy for the decree.

The 156 page document outlines the plan to cleanup all the contaminated areas in Butte. It includes everything from taking the tailings out of the ground, to removing contaminated metals out of Silver Bow and Blacktail Creeks.

Superfund Coordinator Jon Sesso says their goal is to protect human health in the Butte community.

The cleanup will also create a 120 acre community park area along the creeks with walking trails, pavilions and an amphitheater.

"There will be a lot of ways the public will be able to enjoy the area as another park that we're bringing to our community through the Superfund process," said Sesso.

The printed document will be on display for the public to read at the court house, Montana Tech, the Butte Public Library and other places around the city.

Officials will also be hosting community discussions to answer questions throughout the month of February and the first meeting will be Feb. 18 at 8:30 AM at Park and Main Café.

The Council of Commissioners still needs to vote on the decree before cleanup can begin and Chief Executive Dave Palmer says that vote should happen by late March or early April.

Officials add if all goes as planned, they hope to break ground by this summer.

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