EPA sets update on mine cleanup

By Rich Hewitt, BDN Staff
Posted April 20, 2009, at 8:39 p.m.

BROOKSVILLE, Maine — The southern section of Goose Pond at the former Callahan Mine site will be a likely candidate for a federal Superfund cleanup project when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presents it final remedial investigation report next week in Brooksville.

The agency, which has spearheaded investigations at the site since the mine was added to the Superfund national priorities list in 2002, will hold a public information meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, at the town’s public service building.

During the meeting the EPA will provide residents with a summary of the investigations so far, reviews of areas that require a cleanup action, and a review of the cleanup options under consideration.

“We’ll talk about the major areas of concern and the areas of concentrations of PCBs and lead,” EPA project manager Ed Hathaway said Monday. “We’ll better define the sediment areas of concern, especially around southern Goose Pond where there are high concentrations [of lead, copper and zinc] and talk about the reasons for a cleanup in that area.”

Although the agency’s feasibility study on cleanup at the site — which will include the option of doing nothing there — will not be completed until June, Hathaway said the agency would provide some information on potential cleanup projects including Goose Pond. Earlier agency estimates put the cost of a cleanup at the site at between $8 million and $25 million or more, depending on the extent of the cleanup and the methods used.

Hathaway previously has described the site as “heavily contaminated,” noting that investigations have uncovered some of the highest levels of lead and copper of any sites in the Gulf of Maine.

The Callahan Mine extracted an estimated 800,000 tons of rock containing copper, zinc, lead and traces of silver. The mining operations on the 150-acre site created a 320-foot-deep pit which is underwater today because the former owners reopened a dam when the mining operation ended in 1972. About 5 million tons of waste rock containing contaminants also were removed from the mine and deposited on the site.

During the meeting, EPA officials also will discuss the results of a reuse assessment that was conducted for the possible reuse of the site once the cleanup is completed. The site is owned by the Smith Cove Preservation Trust, which has owned it for about 20 years. According to director Jim Benenson, the trust began restoring the site before it was placed on the Superfund list. At a meeting last summer, Benenson said the trust’s bylaws restrict how the property can be used and prohibit it from being developed for profit.

Anyone with questions about the meeting may contact Pam Harting-Barrat at EPA at 617-918-1318 or toll-free at 888-372-7341.

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/04/20/news/epa-sets-update-on-mine-cleanup/ printed on December 18, 2014