Skip Navigation Links Home » Federal Superfund » Clark Fork River

Clark Fork River Operable Unit


 CFR MAP  Aerial view of “slickens” along the Clark Fork River Aerial view of “slickens” along the Clark Fork River.
  Cleanup at the Trestle Area in Deer Lodge,MT completed Spring 2012

Governor's Visit


Newslinks: Cleanup Underway on the Upper Clark Fork Superfund Site

                Governor Bullock Tours Clark Fork River Project


For e-mail updates, please join our Clark Fork River list service.

Please click on the tabs below for more information on the Clark Fork River Operable Unit. Included are links to other agency websites that provide information related to the Clark Fork River Operable Unit.

The Clark Fork River Operable Unit (CFR OU) is part of the Milltown Reservoir/Clark Fork River Superfund Site. The CFR OU includes the Clark Fork River from its headwaters near Warm Springs Creek to Milltown Reservoir, just east of Missoula. The heavy metals (Cadmium, Copper, Zinc, and Lead) and arsenic in the Clark Fork River are from historic mining, milling and smelting processes linked to the Anaconda Company operations in Butte and Anaconda. The majority of the cleanup will occur along a 43 mile stretch of the river from Warm Springs in Anaconda/Deer Lodge County downstream to Garrison in Powell County. This is known as “Reach A.” The primary sources of contamination are tailings mixed with soil in the streambanks and historic floodplain. These sources threaten human health and animal and plant life. The 2004 Record of Decision describes the cleanup approach, or Selected Remedy. In addition to the ROD, the NRDP developed a Restoration Plan to expedite the recovery time for injured aquatic and terrestrial resources in and along the Clark Fork River. To the extent practicable, the Restoration Plan will be combined with the Remedy to maximize the use of resources.

Remedial Design / Remedial Action

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Montana Department of Justice, Natural Resource Damage Program (NRDP), with additional oversight from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Parks Service (NPS) for cleanup activities at the Grant-Kohrs Ranch, are designing the remediation and restoration work to be done along 43 miles of the Clark Fork River from Warm Springs in Anaconda/Deer Lodge County downstream to Garrison in Powell County. Cleanup has started and is expected to take 10-12 years.

Consent Decree and Settlement Money

In 2008, 25 years after the state sued the Atlantic Richfield Co. for damage to natural resources, a settlement was reached and a federal judge signed the consent decree. The state received $123 million from ARCO for cleanup and restoration of mining pollution in the Clark Fork River Operable Unit.

Attention Contractors

To be considered during an invitation for bid, a contractor must meet several criteria, including but not limited to being bonded and insured, a registered contractor with the State of Montana and trained (40 hours) in emergency hazardous waste operations (HAZWOPER). The DEQ will develop designs for various stages of the work. When the design is complete, the project will be put out for construction bid on the DEQ website at The bid is open for 30 to 60 days. The DEQ will respond to questions and hold a pre-bid conference. Bids are sealed and opened at once in public. The DEQ selects the lowest responsible bidder.


Clark Fork River Phase Break Map Click on Map to go Interactive Web Mapping application

Remedial Design Sampling

DEQ has divided the Reach A of the Clark Fork River into “Phases.” (See map). These Phases allow DEQ to develop site specific cleanup designs for various sections of river. As of the end of 2011, DEQ has completed design level sampling of Phases 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 15 & 16 where access was granted. DEQ also completed a topographic survey of Reach A using LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), LIDAR data is available by contacting DEQ’s Remediation Division GIS Coordinator Ricki Ann Ketterling ( This allows for DEQ to proceed with site-specific designs and long term project planning.

Residential Yard Removals
Soil sampling in fall 2009 identified residential yards along the Clark Fork River in Deer Lodge and on Eastside Road in Powell County with elevated levels of arsenic and/or lead. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) removed approximately 13,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil from 15 properties in fall 2010 and spring and summer 2011. The top 6 to 24 inches of yard soil was excavated. The yards were replaced with clean soil and revegetated. DEQ would like to thank the landowners, citizens of Powell County, the City of Deer Lodge and Powell County for their patience and co-operation during this project.

Trestle Area Cleanup
Cleanup at the Trestle Area located in Deer Lodge was completed in Fall/Winter 2011-2012 with planting in spring 2012. The cleanup included removing approximately 8,000 cubic yards of contaminated soils with higher than acceptable residential levels of arsenic (150 mg/kg). The contaminated soils were replaced with clean soil. In addition, approximately 1,000 feet of stream bank was reconstructed and revegetated. This cleanup is being coordinated with Powell County’s future land use planning for this area and with EPA cleanup at the adjacent Milwaukee Roundhouse Site.


Trestle September 2012- Post Construction                

EPA Superfund
RI/FS ROD RD/RA Construction
Clark Fork River C  C C C O  O  TBD  TBD  TBD
Table Legend
Symbol Symbol Id
C Complete
O Ongoing
I Interim
N Negotiations
D Deferred
TBD To Be Determined
Reach A, Phase 1 Construction

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) began cleanup on the Clark Fork River Project Reach A, Phase 1 on March 4. Activities for the week of April 1-5 include streambank stabilization on site, road maintenance and excavation and hauling of contaminated material.  Hauling began on April 1 and will continue throughout the week. Haul trucks will continue to run between 7:30 am to 5:30 pm, hauling along Morel Road, the Frontage Road and Highway 48. DEQ will continue to provide regular updates in the Silver State Post, on the River Radio 96.9 and on the Clark Fork River Project website.


Eastside Road Pastures

DEQ has completed the majority of the work on the Eastside Road Pastures. Work began on Monday November 5th, 2012.  The contractor has "deep tilled", conducted seed bed prep and drill seeded on all 126 acres. The remaining 20 acres was completed on December 6, which consisted of fertilizing and drill seeding. Due to the ground freezing, the final portion of construction, the fence installation will be postponed until spring 2013. Work was temporarily post poned due to weather conditions but resumed November 15. There was very little visible blowing dust and no questions or concerns were raised by adjacent landowners. 

The contractor was obtained through competitive bidding process and was awarded to Ueland Western Reclamation, Inc. from Ramsey, Montana.

The pasture lands were contaminated by historic flood irrigation from the Eastside ditch. These areas were sampled in spring 2010. Remediation will establish self-sustaining vegetation and reduce blowing dust.

Continue to check back for progress reports as the project continues.

Any questions or concerns please contact Brian Bartkowiak at (406)841-5043.


 Reach A, Phase 1 Documents and Plans


Construction Kick Off Public Event Presentation

January 2013

Final Construction Quality Assurance Project Plan (CQAPP)

November 2012

Final CFR Reach A, Phase 1 Vegetation and Geomorphology Monitoring Plan

October 2012

Beck Ranch Cover Soil Borrow Investigation

October 2008

Data Summary Report, Reach A, Phase 1, Part 1

March 2010

Geomorphic, Hydrologic, and Hydraulic Report, Reach A, Phase 1, Part 2, 

April 2010




Reach A, Phase 5 6 Documents and Plans


 Preliminary Design Plan 

 July 2013

 Geomorphic, Hydrologic, and Hydraulic Investigation Draft Final

 July 2012


Documents and Reports


Phase 5-6 and Phase 2 River Closure and Map February 2014
Stakeholder Letter to FWP Commission February 2014
River Closure Memo February 2014
Phase 1 River Closure Factsheet and Map February 2014
 Final Community Involvement Plan

November 2012

Monitoring Report for 2011 August 2012



River Review will be a regular update to inform and engage the public about developments, plans and activities for the 43 mile, $123 million remediation and restoration. River Review is a collaborative public information piece from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, Natural Resource Damage Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Clark Fork River Technical Assistance Committee.


Fact Sheets and Public Presentations


CFR River Review December 2013
CFR River Review November 2013
CFR River Review October 2013
CFR River Review September 2013
CFR River Review July 2013
CFR River Review June 2013
CFR River Review May 2013

CFR River Review

February 2013

CFR River Review

December 2012

CFR River Review

October 2011

 CFR River Review

December 2010

 CFR River Review

June 2009

Deer Lodge Trestle Sampling Results Fact Sheet

June 2009



EPA Region 8 Superfund Program Contacts MT DEQ Logo
Roger Hoogerheide Brian Bartkowiak
Remedial Project Manager
U.S. EPA, Montana Office
10 West 15th Street, Suite 3200
Helena, MT 59626
Project Officer
P.O. Box 200901
Helena MT  59620-0901
1-800-246-8198 (in-state only)