State agencies involved in the upper Clark Fork River cleanup will host a public meeting on June 23 in Deer Lodge.
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Department of Justice Natural Resource Damage Program (NRDP) are scheduling a public meeting for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 23, 2009, at the Deer Lodge Community Center, 416 Cottonwood, Deer Lodge. Local radio state, KQRV River Radio, 96.9/99.3 FM, will broadcast the meeting live.
The DEQ will discuss the results of soil sampling at the Deer Lodge Trestle area in 2008 and upcoming activities for the rest of the project. The agency recently released a river update and a fact sheet on the Trestle area sampling.
“Areas that threaten human health and the environment will be cleaned up,” said Joel Chavez, Project Manager for the Upper Clark Fork River Superfund Project, in a DEQ press release. “Sampling helps us assess the extent of risk to the public and the river.” Trestle results show most surface contamination is within acceptable levels. There are however, areas of high contamination at depth.
The overall cleanup will cover 43 miles of river contaminated with arsenic and heavy metals mine waste from Warm Springs in Anaconda/Deer Lodge County downstream to Garrison in Powell County.
Other activities planned for 2009 include design of the Trestle Area Remedial Action, sampling immediately downstream of Warm Spring Ponds for design during the winter and construction in 2010 and sampling to ensure that areas in Deer Lodge and on the East Side Road properties do not pose a human health threat.
The DEQ is the lead agency and is coordinating with the NRDP in remediation and restoration. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Park Service are providing oversight. The Clark Fork River Technical Assistance Committee (CFRTAC) is giving technical help and working with the community.
“It’s important to include community members and landowners because any cleanup will affect them,” says Brian Bartkowiak, Operations Manager for the Upper Clark Fork River Superfund Project, DEQ. “We want to minimize impacts to landowners and clean up in a manner that is least intrusive and most effective.”
The DEQ is meeting with East Side Road landowners this month to hear their concerns and discuss future actions on their properties. The state is requesting access to their properties for surveying and sampling.
“By working cooperatively among the agencies and community we will be able to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of the cleanup and reduce cost,” says Tom Mostad, Upper Clark Fork River Restoration Coordinator, NRDP.