Tuesday, December 21, 2004

EPA OKs removal of Montana dam and toxic sediments it holds back

With the research finding shown that the water dam in fact have more negative factors for our environment & mother earth. There would be more & more dams & rivers would be restore to the original nature.

It is important that authority should cut down the time in making the decision, so that objectives & tax payor's money can be channel to the good use of clearing up contaminations.

EPA OKs removal of Montana dam and toxic sediments it holds back
1:18 p.m. December 20, 2004

HELENA, Mont. – The Environmental Protection Agency approved a plan Monday for removing the Milltown Dam in Montana and cleaning up mine tailings tainted with arsenic, copper, lead and zinc that have accumulated for decades behind the aging structure.

Issuing the record of decision for the project clears the way for construction of a bypass channel in the Clark Fork River to begin next year and removal of the dam itself in 2006. The EPA has estimated the work, including channel stabilization and revegetation, is expected to take six or seven years and cost about $106 million.

The dam, built in 1907 mostly out of timber and stone, sits at the confluence of the Blackfoot and Clark Fork rivers just upstream from Missoula, Montana's second largest city.

It holds back millions of cubic yards of contaminated sediment that washed down the Clark Fork River from decades of mining and smelting operations upstream in Butte and Anaconda.

City and county leaders in Missoula have supported removing the dam, saying they fear the structure is unsafe. They cite reports of large internal voids found between the bottom of the dam's concrete spillway and its earthen foundation.

The EPA's decision Monday authorizes a cleanup that calls for about 2.6 million cubic yards of the polluted sediment to be hauled away to a Superfund site in Anaconda for disposal.

Two months ago, NorthWestern Corp., whose subsidiary owns the dam after the purchase from the Montana Power Co., asked the federal government for permission to lower the water behind it by 10 feet this winter in preparation for the cleanup.

The cleanup will be paid for by NorthWestern and by Atlantic Richfield Co., which bought the mines and smelters upstream from the Anaconda Co. years ago.

In announcing its final decision, the EPA said the plan will provide environmental protection, restore the Milltown drinking water supply, alleviate concern about a possible dam failure and use existing waste management systems for disposal of the sediment. Read More....
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