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Many support Berkeley Pit as dump site for waste cleanup

Posted at 7:14 PM, Nov 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-03 21:14:57-04

BUTTE - If you’re looking to dump toxic materials somewhere here in Butte, well, many people are wondering, ‘Why not dump it in the most toxic place in Butte?’ The Berkeley Pit.

“Why should we contaminate another area? Take contamination from one area and put it in another area when we can put it in the pit?” said Jim Keane.

Dozens gathered at a recent public forum at Montana Tech to meet with Atlantic Richfield Co. officials who are considering taking the waste material from the superfund cleanup projects in the center of Butte and dumping them in a repository site in Uptown Butte. One site being considered is the abandoned Kelley Mine Yard east of Centerville. But they’re also considering the Berkeley Pit.

Many support Berkeley Pit as dump site for waste cleanup

“The Berkeley is under considerable consideration at this time, there’s a lot of benefits if the Berkeley becomes a viable repository area, the big one is to minimize distances in hauling of the waste,” said the Director of the Department of Reclamation Eric Hassler.

Atlantic Richfield officials say not all the waste material can go in the pit and will need land repository for much of the waste. Some residents don’t like this idea.

“Well I hate to see it be buried we’ve lost so many, I guess you call it ethnic neighborhoods, we’ve lost McQueen, East Butte, Meaderville, Finn Town’s almost gone,” said Danette Harrington.

Some believe the pit can handle the entire waste load.

“And it will save all the areas of being remediated and capped and monitored. Once it’s in the pit it’s capped with water, will be in perpetuity,” said Keane.


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