A former copper mine in Stafford Vermont is about to be declared cleaned up after 20 years and $90 million, reports the Valley News. (The story is here.)
The 250-acre mining area was declared a Superfund site in 2001 — a designation preserved for the most polluted sites in the country. A century and a half of mining had left a mosaic of toxic waste, and a complex cleanup that involved buttressing a dam that held back 700,000 gallons of water; cleaning up open cuts that contaminated nearby streams; stabilizing 19th-century mining tunnels; and rehabilitating 8 acres of “toxic wetlands into 15 acres of clean wetlands.” Now, brooks and the West Branch of the Ompompanoosuc River that once flowed orange with contaminants run clear.
From Wikipedia: “The ore deposit was discovered in 1793, but mining did not start until 1809. Open pit mining and from 1886 underground mining was conducted. The mine produced up to 8,500,000 pounds (3,900,000 kg) of copper (1954) and was closed in 1957.”
Vermont will spend about $61,000 a year monitoring and maintaining the site, reports the newspaper.
There’s a 5-megawatt solar farm on part of the property, which is a great use of a place like this.