Students learn about Upper Blackfoot Mining Complex cleanup efforts

Posted at 7:45 AM, Feb 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-28 13:22:20-05

HELENA – The Montana Department of Environmental Quality — along with the Natural Resource Damage Program, Pioneer Tech Services and Missouri River contractors — detailed cleanup efforts at the Upper Blackfoot Mining Complex to two Helena High School advanced placement environmental science classes.

The Upper Blackfoot Mine Complexis located about 15 miles outside of Lincoln and for the last several years, DEQ has worked with the US Forest Service and the State Natural Resource Damage Program to clean up contamination at the site.

Blackfoot Cleanup
The Upper Blackfoot Mine Complex is located about 15 miles outside of Lincoln and cleanup of the site has been underway for several years. (MTN News photo)

The purpose of the presentation was to bring in people in various positions who have worked on the project to explain their roles in remediation efforts as well as to show students interested in science and engineering, future career opportunities in environmental and scientific fields.

“From an educational perspective being able to come and show the different disciplines that are involved in making a project like this work, it’s really important to us,” DEQ Project Manager David Bowers said.

“Well, we’re cleaning and removing all the contamination. Once we have done that, it’ll open up and hopefully be used as a recreational area, for fishing and camping and everything,” he continued. “It’s a beautiful spot. I’ve been going up there since 2002, I love it.”

By the time cleanup is complete, as much as a million cubic yards of mine waste will have been removed.

-Christine Sullivan reporting for MTN News