Is the Berkeley Pit still in operation?

Published by Anaya Cole on

Is the Berkeley Pit still in operation?

Under this act, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can clean up contaminated sites. Berkeley Pit officially closed in 1982 after the site was abandoned.

What happened to the Berkeley Pit?

Berkeley Pit. Own or manage this business? About The Berkely Pit, started in 1955, was a large truck-operated open-pit copper mine until mining ceased in 1982. By 1980 nearly 1.5 billion tons of material had been removed from the Pit, including more than 290 million tons of copper ore.

Why was the Berkeley Pit shut down?

The Continental Pit, which has been mined intermittently since 1980, has seen only one death. But steep, continuous declines in copper prices following the 1974 spike led to the eventual shut down of Berkeley operations in 1982.

What is the main fear with the Berkeley Pit now?

The Berkeley Pit is an abandoned open pit mine now filled with irreversibly contaminated groundwater a mile deep, creating a lake of water so toxic that contact alone is enough to kill the variety of birds who land on the water’s surface, mistaking it for something close to clean.

How are they fixing the Berkeley Pit?

First it’s pumped out of the Berkeley Pit and treated with lime. Then, water from the backside of the tailings dam is piped down to Atlantic Richfield’s new $19 million polishing plant, where it’s further treated to meet state and federal water quality standards.

What is the main problem with the Berkeley Pit?

“The water in the pit has elevated concentrations of copper, like you would expect it was a copper mine,” Duiame said. “We have high concentrations of copper, high concentrations of zinc.” Slowly that water has dissolved many of the metals the miners were after, making the pit extremely toxic.

Is the Berkeley Pit toxic?

The Berkeley Pit, an old mining site now filled with toxic waters, seems like an inhospitable place for organisms big and small. But scientists have found life there. The microbes thriving in the heavy-metal-laden, acidic “lake” synthesize molecules that help keep them alive in this extreme environment.

Can you swim in the Berkeley Pit?

The Berkeley Pit Strip Mine in Butte And no, the water is extremely hazardous to your health – so don’t drink or swim in it. The Berkeley Pit has been filling up with water ever since the former owner of it, Arco, stopped pumping out the water.

Can the Berkeley Pit be cleaned?

Water is taken from the pit and treated to remove toxic materials at a processing plant and in a tailings pond. From there, the water is pumped to a polishing plant where it goes through a final step of cleaning and then is discharged near the confluence of Silver Bow and Blacktail creeks.

Can you swim in Berkeley Pit?

Is Butte Montana toxic?

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST: Now to the mining town of Butte, Mont., where the Environmental Protection Agency says it will finally begin cleaning up a massive Superfund site. Superfund sites are heavily contaminated areas. And the one in Butte is one of the most toxic ones.

Will the Berkeley Pit overflow?

The Berkeley Pit will never overflow. In 1994 the EPA established the Critical Water Level (the maximum level the water will be allowed to reach) at 5,410 feet above sea level, which is one hundred feet below the rim. Elevations above sea level for Berkeley Pit water and surrounding Butte, Montana landmarks.

Where is the Berkeley Pit in Montana?

The Berkeley Pit is a former open pit copper mine located in Butte, Montana, United States. It is 1 mi (1,600 m) long by 1⁄2 mi (800 m) wide with an approximate depth of 1,780 feet (540 m).

Why is the Berkeley Pit considered a Superfund site?

Because its water contains high concentrations of metals such as copper and zinc, the Berkeley Pit is listed as a federal Superfund site. The Berkeley Pit receives groundwater flowing through the surrounding bedrock and acts as a “terminal pit” or sink for these heavy-metal-laden waters, which can be as strong as battery acid.

What is the Berkeley Pit and why is it dangerous?

The Berkeley Pit is currently one of the largest Superfund sites. The water, with dissolved oxygen, allows pyrite and sulfide minerals in the ore and wall rocks to decay, releasing acid.

How much copper was mined from the Berkeley Pit?

Ultimately, about 1,000,000,000 tons of material were mined from the Berkeley Pit. Copper was the principal metal produced, although other metals were also extracted, including silver and gold. Two communities and much of Butte’s previously crowded east side were consumed by land purchases to expand the pit during the 1970s.

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