EPA wants to waive state water quality standards near Anaconda

EPA wants to waive state water quality standards near Anaconda

Source: Helena Independent Record
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Susan Dunlap

BUTTE — The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to waive certain water quality standards for some heavy metals in upper Willow Creek and in tributaries feeding into upper Mill Creek, both south of Anaconda.

EPA officials will hold a public meeting on the proposal from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, June 22, at the Metcalf Senior Center, 115 Pennsylvania Avenue , Anaconda.

The streams are contaminated from nearly 100 years of metals-laden smoke from the Washoe Smelter stack in Anaconda. The smelter closed in 1980.

The proposed waiver would eliminate Montana’s water quality standards for cadmium, copper, lead and zinc for upper Willow Creek and the tributaries leading into upper Mill Creek. According to the proposal, the creeks would still maintain federal water quality standards.

The proposed plan would also expand and enhance cleanup strategies to minimize contamination from reaching waterways to prevent metals from exceeding water quality standards.

The EPA is providing a 45-day public comment period from Wednesday, June 21 to August 4 on the proposed waiver.

The proposed plan is available:

  • Arrowhead Foundation Library; 118 E. Seventh Street; Anaconda
  • EPA Montana Office; 10 W. 15th St.;  Helena