DEQ Press Releases

Driscoll, Paul

DEQ Releases Proposed Plan for Cleanup of Non-Federal Lands within the UBMC

Members of the public are invited to submit their comments

Helena – The Montana Department of Environmental Quality today released a Proposed Plan identifying its preferred final remedy for completing cleanup activities on non-federal lands at the Upper Blackfoot Mining Complex State Superfund Facility in Lewis and Clark County, east of Lincoln. 

The Proposed Plan summarizes the cleanup alternatives evaluated for those portions of the UBMC not addressed by the U.S. Forest Service. The public is encouraged to offer suggestions for improving the proposed cleanup measures, or to submit reasons to implement other alternatives for the project, at a 7:00 PM October 28 meeting at the Lincoln Community Hall at 404 Main St. in Lincoln.

The Proposed Plan identifies and explains DEQ’s preferred option for cleaning up contamination on non-federal land that may present a threat to human health and the environment. This includes the non-federal portions of the Blackfoot River below the former Mike Horse dam and tailings impoundment and the Upper Marsh at the confluence of Pass Creek and the Blackfoot River. In the near future, the USFS will issue a Technical Memorandum to address the remaining portions of federal land within the UBMC that were not previously covered under the July 2007 action memorandum. Together, these agency documents address the remaining cleanup actions.

Five separate evaluation areas were identified based on physical location, habitat type, and waste sources. The following preferred alternatives will be used in various combinations to clean up the different areas:


  • physical barriers for adit openings or related  physical hazards;

  • removal and on-site disposal of impacted soil and sediment;

  • containment of impacted soils;

  • monitored natural recovery and monitored natural attenuation;

  • containment of adit discharges, seeps, and springs;

  • hydrologic and hydraulic control for up gradient groundwater and surface water combined with passive chemical reagent and a permeable reactive barrier for groundwater where near-surface groundwater requires treatment;

  • inundation for adit seepage control; and

  • active chemical reagent combined with active physical/mechanical treatment to address adit discharge.

DEQ’s proposal and other information regarding the UBMC Facility can be found online at, at DEQ’s Cedar Building (1225 Cedar Street in Helena), at the Lincoln Ranger District (1569 Highway 200 in Lincoln), the Lincoln Library (102 9th Street in Lincoln), and the Lewis and Clark County Library (120 S. Last Chance Gulch in Helena).

DEQ, USFS, and the Montana Natural Resource Damage Program have been working together on the cleanup of the Upper Blackfoot Mining Complex. The final plan for cleaning up the non-federal portions of the Facility will be selected by DEQ in a Record of Decision after DEQ considers each public comment submitted during the 30-day public comment period, which starts October 10, 2015 and ends November 9, 2015.  The USFS will issue its own decision document to address the remaining portions of federal land within the UBMC that were not covered by its previous decision document.  Together, these decisions will allow the agencies to address the remaining cleanup actions. 

For more information regarding the UBMC, please contact David Bowers at 406-444-6335 or at or visit the webpage at

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