BUTTE - All the contaminated dirt that’s going to be removed from the center of Butte may be deposited at a spot just east of the Centerville neighborhood, and officials are considering dumping some of it in the Berkeley Pit.
“And what we’d proposed to do is take waste from the projects sites, put it in those locations, and then reclaim it when we’re done,” said the liability manager for Atlantic Richfield Co. Josh Bryson.
The proposed plan to use the approximately 60-acre Kelley Mine yard site, which was in operation from 1949 to 1980, as a repository site for the waste material and then cap it off with 18 inches of clean soil and vegetation.
“It’s already got historic mine waste on this property which covers a majority of the site and, pretty ideally, both the surface water and groundwater up and around the Berkeley Pit all pour to the Berkeley Pit,” said Bryson.
Some of the waste may be dumped into the pit.
“We can’t dispose of all the waste from the project sites in the Berkeley Pit partly because some of those wastes are impacted by hydrocarbon contamination, so we can’t put those hydrocarbons into the pit,” said Bryson.
Some residents in the nearby Centerville neighborhood object to having a repository so close to homes fear contaminants will get in the air from the dumping process. Others support the project, like John McKee who co-owns Headframes Spirits distillery just south of the proposed repository.
“We need the center of our town clean. I think Headframe, we’ve always been willing to give back and if our give to this is to be the neighbor to something that nobody ease wants we can give back to our whole town and assist in being part of the greater part of the cleanup then we’re all in,” said McKee.
The final decision on the repository site is still about a year away.