February 26, 2009

Excavators in snow

News, updates and commentaries all highlight the winding down of the remediation effort and the ramping up of restoration work at the Milltown Reservoir Sediments Superfund site. CFRTAC advisor Chris Brick writes that “2009 will be a transition year for Milltown – the cleanup of contaminated material will finish up, and re-creation of the Clark Fork River and floodplain will begin.” For an overview of the work that will come this year, read her February Montana Public Radio commentary (PDF).

In a recent agency update (PDF), the EPA reports that more than two million tons of contaminated sediment have been excavated and shipped to the Anaconda Superfund site. Next up, set tentatively for the week of March 23 - and a year after the dam’s removal – is the breach of the cofferdam upstream from the old spillway. While it’s likely the river will drop only a couple of feet, the breach will allow the combined flows of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers to reclaim their original channel at the foot of the Milltown Bluff.

For news accounts, see the Missoulian’s ongoing coverage of Milltown Superfund with these February headlines Taming the river - Boulders placed in former spillway as part of Milltown restoration project and Fishing guides eager to reap benefits of Milltown Dam removal.

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