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Former Mercury Mine Above Cottage Grove Reservoir Proposed for Federal Cleanup List

Release Date: 09/23/2009
Contact Information: Ken Marcy, EPA/Seattle (206) 463-1349, marcy.ken@epa.gov Judy Smith, EPA/Portland (503) 326-6994, smith.judy@epa.gov

(Cottage Grove, Oregon - September 23, 2009) Today, the former Black Butte Mine, near Cottage Grove, Oregon, was proposed for addition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “National Priorities List” of the most contaminated sites in the nation. If listed as proposed, the site will be cleaned up under the Superfund program.

Piles of mine waste from the abandoned site are leaching mercury, arsenic and other contaminants into creeks flowing into Cottage Grove Reservoir, a popular site for fishing, swimming and boating. Elevated mercury concentrations in reservoir fish have prompted fish consumption advisories in order to protect public health.

“Proposing to add Black Butte Mine to the National Priorities List makes perfect sense," said Anthony Barber, Director of EPA's Oregon office in Portland. "Serious work will be needed to clean up this site. Mercury poses a real health threat to both people and the environment and we believe the Superfund program offers just the right tools for the job.”

The Black Butte Mine cleanup is a collaborative effort between the State of Oregon, local communities, stakeholders and EPA. The site has been the focus of previous investigation and cleanup work by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) and EPA.

“Our collaboration with EPA has worked well to enhance the cleanup process,” said ODEQ Project Manager Bryn Thoms. “The local community has been supportive and helpful with outreach.”

Public comments will be accepted for 60 days. The Federal Register Notice, with instructions on how to comment on the proposed Black Butte Mine site, is available at http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm

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For the National EPA Press Release, see: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/names/hq_2009-9-23_NPL_Listing

For more information on the Black Butte Mine site and other EPA documents, please visit: http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/CLEANUP.NSF/sites/bbm