Just a few miles from Montana Tech a popular area for bikers and trail walkers could be putting the health of uptown Butte residents in danger. The area known as the Orphan Girl mine dump is actually a Superfund site that for the past 30 years officials have been trying to determine whether it affects residents health.
The area is comprised of contaminated soil and heavy metals and contaminants could be potentially hazardous to thousands. Montana Department of Environmental Quality Public Policy Director Kristi Ponozzo said “We’ve urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin the formal Superfund process on several occasions. we understand that the resource limitations of E.P.A. and region 8 are limited and we have limited resources as well.”
Recent reports from the E.P.A.’s Office of the Inspector General revealed that the inspector general along with the U.S. Government Accountability Office have issued over 10 reports in 21 years calling for a need to analyze E.P.A. work load. Our Jeremy Jenkins contacted the E.P.A. but was unable to reach someone for comment.
Local residents Mickenzie Cantwell and Will Osmun felt something should be done. Cantwell said “I feel like we should definitely start getting it cleaned up because eventually its going to propose a health threat.” while resident Osmun said “If there’s a giant pit of toxic waste it should be moved.”
This is just one of the Superfund sites in the area the other being the Berkeley Pit and at this time there’s no update on when cleanups will begin.