Anaconda Superfund Site
The Anaconda Superfund Site is located at the southern end of the Deer Lodge Valley, at and near the location of the former Anaconda Minerals Company (AMC) ore processing facilities. In September 1983, the EPA placed the area surrounding the smelter on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). Consulting with the State of Montana and coordinating with ARCO, EPA began investigations into the extent of contamination. Since then, removals and cleanup actions have reduced human health risks at the site. ARCO merged with AMC in 1977 and is the potentially responsible party (PRP) at the site. ARCO’s liability and EPA’s costs are the subject of ongoing litigation.
The site covers an area of approximately 300 square miles. It has a temperate climate and includes a variety of terrain—from steep-slope uplands to level valley floors. There are also a variety of creeks and drainages. Major mining-related features at the site include two very large tailings ponds (the Anaconda Ponds and the Opportunity Ponds) and the former Anaconda smelter stack. At 585 feet tall, the stack is a local landmark and is the largest freestanding brick chimney in the world. There are also two communities (Anaconda and Opportunity) within the site footprint. US Interstate 90 and the Clark Fork River border the site. The Superfund site is divided into a number of Operable Units (OUs)—see Cleanup Progress for an explanation. Two of the OUs (Anaconda Regional Waste Water & Soil [ARWW&S] and the Old Works/East Anaconda Development Area) are further divided into smaller design units.
In late February of 2020, Atlantic Richfield and Anaconda Local Deer Lodge county successfully negotiated a settlement agreement focused on the long term protection of residents from any potential exposure to contaminants created by the smelting operation. The agreement also established a 28 million economic development fund to assist the community in its recovery. It also included a long term investment in the Old Works Golf Course.