Getting the Berkeley Pit under control: Pumping treated water could start as soon as MarchNews Type: State Source: Montana Standard
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Montana Resources and Atlantic Richfield Company won’t have the Berkeley Pit pilot project in time for Christmas this year, but the project is not that far off the originally predicted mark.
Likely to be flowing by March, that puts it four years ahead of schedule instead of five. But that is still plenty of time to begin testing the treatment of the pit’s water, say mine officials.
A 900-foot hole beneath the water’s surface, the Berkeley Pit is one of the larger contaminated water bodies in the U.S. and is only one relatively small part of the largest Superfund complex in the nation. It began slowly filling up with metal-laden acidic water in 1982. That’s when Atlantic Richfield could no longer afford to mine copper in the Richest Hill on Earth and cut power to the pumps that held groundwater at bay. The water has been rising in the former copper mine since then.