Neighborhood NewsGreat Falls - Cascade County


$2.2M cleanup project announced for Superfund site in Black Eagle

Black Eagle, Montana
Posted at 3:28 PM, Aug 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-23 12:56:57-04

GREAT FALLS — Atlantic Richfield Company and ARCO Environmental Remediation (collectively known as Atlantic Richfield) have agreed to the cleanup of community soils - including both residential and non-residential yards and soil affected by the refinery’s operations - at the ACM Smelter and Refinery Superfund Site in Black Eagle, Montana.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in a news release this week that under the proposed consent decree, Atlantic Richfield is required to pay for past response costs and implement a multi-million-dollar cleanup for community soils at the Site.

The former copper concentrating and smelting facility operated for nearly 80 years near the unincorporated community of Black Eagle. The smelter and refinery’s operations produced large quantities of slag, tailings, flue dust and other smelter and refinery wastes containing lead, arsenic, and other metals that contaminated soil, groundwater, and surface water resources, according to the EPA.

The EPA placed the Black Eagle site on the Superfund National Priority List in March 2011.

The proposed consent decree requires Atlantic Richfield to implement remedial design and remedial action in the community soils portion of one of the Site’s three operable units (OU1) at an estimated cost of $2,286,000, and also pay $464,475.12 for past response costs incurred by the EPA through September 30, 2022.

The consent decree filed in U.S. District Court in Great Falls is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. A copy of the consent decree is available on the Justice Department’s website.

Under state law, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality is separately required to put the proposed consent decree out for public comment, which will be available on the DEQ website. The state’s public comment period will run concurrently with the federal public comment period.

Information about operable units, past time-critical cleanup efforts, and the Site’s history is available on the EPA Superfund website.