Montana Issues Bid Package for First Phase of Butte Cleanup

Gov. Steve Bullock on March 28 announced the next steps for the Parrot Tailings Waste Removal Project in Butte, saying the Montana Natural Resource Damage Program has issued the bid package for the first phase of the project.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock on March 28 announced the next steps for the Parrot Tailings Waste Removal Project in Butte, saying the Montana Natural Resource Damage Program has issued the bid package for the first phase of the project. The cleanup will remove mining and smelting waste that has for a long time been buried near the Butte Civic Center.

"Butte has been waiting for too long to get this cleanup done, and it's finally going to happen," Bullock said. "It's time to move dirt and put folks to work."

The bid package allows interested contractors 35 days to submit bids for the project. Once a qualified contractor is selected, a notice to proceed with the initial stages of the project should be issued in late spring of 2018.

"The issuance of the Phase 1 bid package in the Parrot Tailings Waste Removal Project is a significant milestone to address the contamination present in Silver Bow and Black Tail Creeks," Attorney General Tim Fox said. "Removal of these mine wastes is the best permanent solution for resolving groundwater contamination and protecting these creeks for the future."

As currently configured, the first phase of the project encompasses the removal of historic wastes in the area north of Civic Center Road. During this phase Civic Center Road will remain open to through traffic. The first phase should be completed by spring 2019. Butte-Silver Bow County Chief Executive Dave Palmer said he is pleased the project is finally moving forward. "This has been a long time coming for Butte and this is a good beginning to many millions of dollars in job creation building our restoration economy."

The Natural Resource Damage Program was created in 1990 to prepare the state's lawsuit against the Atlantic Richfield Co. for damage to the natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin. Decades of mining and mineral processing operations in and around Butte and Anaconda released substantial quantities of hazardous substances into the Upper Clark Fork River Basin between Butte and Milltown. Since 1990, the program within the Montana Department of Justice has been responsible for performing natural resource damage assessments and pursuing the lawsuit against ARCO; the state has settled its lawsuit through a series of settlement agreements completed in 1999, 2005, and 2008 and also completed settlements for the Mike Horse Dam site and the East Helena site. The 1999 partial settlement earmarked about $130 million to restore or replace the injured natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin. Between 2000 and 2011, the Montana Natural Resource Damage Program administered a annual restoration grants process funded by interest proceeds from the 1999 partial settlement. Montana's governors have approved 121 grant projects totaling $112 million to improve water, fish and wildlife resources, public drinking water supplies, and natural resource-based recreational opportunities.

Once the program selects a contractor for the first phase, it will hold public open houses to introduce the project team, provide information to the public about the project, and to answer questions. As construction progresses, NRDP will be providing periodic updates by way of a project newsletter.

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