BUTTE - For 30 years, officials have been working on a plan to clean up mining waste in Butte, and the feedback from the public has been clear:
“C’mon! Get this negotiation done,” said Butte Superfund Coordinator Jon Sesso.
This week, a consent decree has been reached in the remediation of Butte’s Superfund site that will involve removing buried mine waste along Silver Bow and Blacktail creeks, adding sediment basin for storm water runoff and other improvements. The finalized decree won’t be made public for at least another month until the Department of Justice has a chance to review it.
“We think that the details as they come forth will be satisfactory to our community and it really gives us a protective remedy,” said Sesso.
The work will take five to seven years to complete and then Butte will no longer be a Superfund site.
“We have an obligation to take care of this remedy in the forever and we have to make sure that the resources were going to be available forever,” said Sesso.
For the past several years the consent decree process has been seemingly endless — meetings and negotiations between state and federal agencies and attorneys — but now the process is at the point that most Butte people can understand: getting your hands dirty and doing the work.
“We’ve been quibbling about details for far too long and it’s time to get back to work,” said Sesso.
Once the Department of Justice approves the decree, a series of public forums will be set up in Butte to give the community a chance to view the final document.