The EPA and  State of Montana will hold a public meeting to give an update on the Milltown

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For the last three days, the Missoulian featured a three-part series on the upper Clark Fork River cleanup.

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Restoration work along the Clark Fork River at the Milltown Superfund site proceeds at a brisk pace. Check out this slideshow for a look at river restoration at work.

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The new advisory council for the Upper Clark Fork River Basin Remediation and Restoration Education Advisory Council will receive a crash course on the Natural Resource Damage Program

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State crews continue to gather site-specific information to help determine cleanup plans for the upper Clark Fork River Superfund site.

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Summer Restoration Work at Milltown

September 9, 2009

The state's restoration work at the Milltown Superfund site has made considerable gains this spring and summer.

Remediation -- dam and major sediment removal -- has largely been completed at the Milltown site. The state's restoration plan seeks to return natural functions and conditions to the Clark Fork's channel and floodplain is now in full swing. Check out this slideshow for a glimpse of river restoration in progress.

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Another major milestone was quietly celebrated at the Milltown Superfund site as the last car of the last train of sediment was loaded and shipped  to the BP-ARCO repository near Opportunity.

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Old Channel Sediments to Be Removed from the Clark Fork River 

September 9, 2009

Starting this week, Envirocon will begin excavating additional contaminated sediments from Clark Fork River at the Milltown Superfund site.

After lengthy negotiations, the state of Montana, Envirocon, and ARCO's insurer, AIG, reached an agreement in August on the price and scope of work for the removal of an additional 250,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediments from the Milltown Reservoir site.

In December of 2007 the Clark Fork Coalition secured grant funding from the Montana's Natural Resources Damage Program (NRDP) to pay for sediment removal, but the ultimate stay-or-go decision was dependent on negotiating a fair price.

Known as the Area III-b sediments, this contaminated river mud lies in the former channel of the Clark Fork River, extending from the dam site about a third of a mile upstream. Without this agreement, and without grant funding from the NRDP, these sediments would have remained adjacent to the confluence as an armored repository. Since this material is just as contaminated as the reservoir sediment, removal is considered critical for permanent restoration success at Milltown.

The sediment was left in place in the remediation plan, now nearly complete, because the EPA and state believe that location of the sediments, though toxic, had little effect on the Milltown aquifer recovery, the primary goal of the Milltown Superfund cleanup.

Under the terms of the agreement, the state will contract with Envirocon to excavate the sediment and place it in the Tunnel Pond repository, located behind the former Milwaukee Road rail grade. This location is up and away from the river and floodplain, where the sediments will not pose a hazard to human health or the environment. Originally, it was proposed to haul sediments to BP-ARCO's repository at the Anaconda Superfund site, but the state's staff felt that the price for that was about $1 million dollars too high.

For the project, the State of Montana will pay roughly $1.65 million dollars from the NRDP grant funds, and AIG will contribute $1.1 million dollars.

Excavation began on August 31st and will continue until the end of October. It will take an additional month to shore up the railroad buttress, and cap and reclaim the tunnel pond repository. It should all be finished by the end of November.

"We're glad to see these sediments go, and we're thankful for the efforts of the State NRD Program, Envirocon, and AIG, in negotiating this agreement," says Chris Brick, the coalition's science director and a CFRTAC advisor. "Ultimately, this makes an already good cleanup just that much better."

 

 

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September 4, 2009

On a beautiful late summer Sunday, the public had its first chance to view cleanup and restoration work on the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers at the 5th annual Community Day at the Confluence.

More than a 100 people attended the afternoon celebration, some just to see the river and others to listen to speakers talk about raptors and bighorns in the area, and of course, the restoration work now underway. The Watershed Education Network's table hands-on environmental ed was a hit with the kids, young and old alike. Live music played throughout the afternoon and burger and sausages as well as locally grown corn and melons were enjoyed by many.

Check out the slideshow for photos of the event and the confluence itself.

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The area, still closed to general public use because of ongoing construction work, was opened on August 30 by the state for the day for the community event put on by the Friends of Two Rivers.

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