The final price of cleaning the Strafford Superfund is $ 103 million

STRAFFORD, Vt. (WCAX) – Twenty years later and $ 78 million over budget, a long-abandoned copper mine in Strafford is now clean.

The clean-up of the Elizabeth Mine Superfund site began in 2001 to treat contaminated water from the 150-year-old mine that closed in 1958. The original estimate for the clean-up was $ 25 million, but the project coordinator EPA Edward Hathaway said the final cost came to $ 103 million. He says it’s not uncommon for large-scale cleanups like this to go over budget.

“When we make the original cleaning decisions, they’re based on our best understanding, but it’s at the concept level because we didn’t have the opportunity to do a thorough detailed design first.” , Hathaway said.

He said the cleanup should initially take only three to five years, not 20. They must have excavated 500,000 cubic meters of soil, double the original estimate. “We considered the site to be a very large-scale threat to ecological receptors and to public health. There was a very large landscape with very acidic soils and very metallic soils. It was very important that the EPA tackled these issues, ”Hathaway said.

Since the clean-up was completed, a 20,000-panel solar farm has been built on the site. The west arm of the Ompompaoosuc River has also been removed from the list of degraded waters.

Most of the project was funded by federal funds. The state paid around $ 1.6 million and will also have to pay for the long-term maintenance of the site.

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Richard L. Militello