BLM officials unsure regarding number of abandoned mines in Oregon

Disaster in Colorado puts spotlight on potential toxic leaks across the West.

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The recent disaster in Colorado has put a spotlight on potential toxic leaks across the West.

Oregon has thousands of abandoned mines, officials from the Bureau of Land Management suspect.

Two of those have become Superfund sites:

  • Formosa mine, in Douglas County. A drainage control system failed after the mine was shut down, leaking pollutants into the South Fork of the Middle Creek. The Canadian company running the mine has since dissolved, and EPA estimates cleanup will cost taxpayers $14 million.
  • Black Butte mine, near Cottage Grove in Lane County. Mercury and other contaminants from tailing piles affect creeks that flow into the Cottage Grove Reservoir and the Coast Fork Willamette River.

Other problematic abandoned mines in Oregon include the Almeda Mine, which emits acid mine drainage into the Rogue River; and the Umpqua Site, which has concerning mercury concentrations downstream, threatening the Umpqua River.

(SOURCE: Statesman Journal)

The SJ story is certainly worth a read as it shows how Oregon could be the next site of an ecological disaster.


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