$15 Million So Far Mine Cleanup Half-Way Complete

Front Page / Dec. 28, 2006 12:00am EST

By John Freitag

$15 Million So Far Mine Cleanup Half-Way Complete

By John Freitag

Two town roads will need to be closed for work on the Elizabeth Mine site, according to project manager Ed Hathaway of the EPA, who recently met with Strafford selectboard members.

Parts of the mine road were built with tailings from the mine and will need remediation. This will require closing that section of road for a couple of weeks next summer.

EPA would also like to close Copperas Road, a class IV road that runs through the upper section of the mine works, for an extended period of time as a safety precaution during work in this area.

Work at the mine area continued into the late fall with diversion ditches being built along the east side of the main tailing area. This is a swampy area and with all the wet weather not without problems in getting the work done.

It was reported that Tim Cadwell, who was clearing some wood, got his skidder mired in the muck and in trying to pull it out they managed to split the machine in half.

According to Hathaway, work on the site will continue as funds allow. Approximately $15 million has been spent to date and he estimates around another $15 million will be needed before the project is completed.

He estimated it would be at least five more years before the project is done.

Water Quality

It is then hoped that there will be improvement in the water quality in the West Branch, which currently sees an impact on the biota and forage fish for around a mile-long section of the river from the runoff from the mine site.

One of the current concerns is how to deal with an increase in the iron load into the river that has been a result of the work done to date. While increasing the discoloration of the river, officials feel that there is little additional environmental impact to the river. It is possible that this situation will clear up as remediation work on the site continues.

State officials did sample the West Branch for water quality this past summer/fall and the results should be available early this next year.

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