Cleaning up Black Butte

The EPA proposes putting the Black Butte mercury mine on the Superfund cleanup list.

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Nearly 15 years after Oregon State University scientists first raised concerns about the Black Butte mercury mine as a source of contamination, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to put the mine on the list of Superfund cleanup sites.

Piles of mine waste topping 300,000 cubic yards are leaching the neurotoxin mercury, arsenic and other contaminants into the headwaters of the Willamette River’s Coast Fork and into the reservoir, a popular site for fishing, swimming and boating, the agency says.

Elevated mercury concentrations in reservoir fish have prompted fish consumption advisories to protect public health since the 1970s, Oregon environmental regulators said.

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{biztweet}Black Butte Superfund{/biztweet}