Butte Montana

Dioxin contaminated soil at the Montana Pole Plant in Butte, Montana.
Montana DEQ

As the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) gets closer to finishing the clean-up of dioxin-contaminated soil at Butte’s smallest Superfund site, the Montana Pole Plant, some members of the community are still concerned about the human health risk.

In response, a risk assessment expert visited Butte to break down options for protecting human health with a contaminant that just won’t break down.

The Berkeley pit in Butte, Montana, as seen from above.

The mining companies in charge of the Berkeley Pit are going to start pumping, treating and discharging the water in the former open pit copper mine into Silver Bow Creek five years earlier than planned. Susan Dunlap is reporting that story for the Montana Standard in Butte. She spoke to MTPR's Nora Saks.

Six panelists and three moderators at Montana Tech for the KBMF public forum on Superfund. L-R: Mary Kay Craig, David Hutchins, Eric Hassler, Rayelynn Brandl, Robert Pal, Daniel Hogan, Olivia Everett, Leif Clark. (Not pictured: Pat Cunneen)
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

For decades now, Superfund meetings have been routine in Butte, but their highly technical nature can deter locals who want to stay informed and involved. In response, KBMF- Butte’s community radio station, hosted its first ever Superfund forum last Friday night.

Twenty-six-year-old Butte native Daniel Hogan is an Americorps VISTA member at KBMF, Butte's community radio station
Nora Saks

Butte has had countless meetings on its Superfund issues over the last thirty years, but the technical nature of them has made it challenging for the public to stay informed. 

The regional head of the Environmental Protection Agency says Butte could move off the federal Superfund list by 2024, but details of that plan aren’t expected to be made public until this summer.

Administrator Doug Benevento announced steps toward a legal settlement for the cleanup of toxic mining waste in town before a crowd of more than 60 people in the Butte Friday.