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EPA drafting plan to cover Anaconda slag pile

Posted at 9:47 PM, Apr 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-09 10:42:23-04

ANACONDA – The Environmental Protection Agency is making plans to cover up Anaconda’s huge pile of mine waste for good.

“We want to get it to a point where it does not pose any risk to the community, so there’s no blowing slag off the pile,” said Charlie Coleman, the EPA’s Anaconda representative.

As part of the Superfund agreement reached with the EPA and the Atlantic Richfield Co., Anaconda’s mounds of waste left over from the smelter, known as slag, will be covered over.

“The record of decision calls for an 18-inch soil cover to be revegetated, so there will be some regrading and then placement of the soil cover. It will look similar to the adjacent Anaconda tailings impoundment which is right next to the slag pile,” said Coleman.

This massive slag pile covers more than 50 acres and the EPA wants to put a cap on it to prevent dust from blowing, which contains many harmful contaminants.

“They do contain elements like arsenic, lead, and cadmium. We don’t want those elements to be introduced into the community, so if there’s some release of slag onto soils it has the potential to recontaminate those soils,” said Coleman.

The EPA is designing the cap plans for the multi-million-dollar project. It is expected to be completed by 2025.

-John Emeigh reporting for MTN News