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The original item was published from 10/2/2014 9:42:41 AM to 11/1/2014 12:05:01 AM.

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Butte-Silver Bow

Posted on: October 2, 2014

[ARCHIVED] Public comment sought on metals accumulation in Jefferson River

Several waterways flowing into the Jefferson River – and the upper river itself -- do not meet Montana’s water quality standards for metals.

Consequently, the state has released a document to begin the process of reducing metals leaching into the river.

The metals, which include copper, zinc, lead, arsenic, cadmium, iron and aluminum, most often come from abandoned placer mines and mine adits.

Besides the river, the offending waterways include the Jefferson Slough, Big Pipestone, Little Whitetail and Whitetail Deer Creeks.

Required by the Environmental Protection Agency, the document provides total maximum daily amount of metals the river can carry before endangering beneficial uses like aquatic life, swimming and drinking.

The document seeks to address these problems and outlines a strategy for reducing metals concentrations in order to meet Montana’s water quality standards.

The draft document is available for public comment until Oct. 31 and there is a public meeting in Whitehall Oct. 14.

Comments will be reviewed and addressed with written responses in the final version of the document. Edits to the document may be made based on comments received. The document must be approved by the EPA before the plan is implemented.

A public meeting to provide information about the document, to answer questions and to accept written comment is 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 14, at the Community Center, 11 N. Division St., Whitehall.

The draft document is available on the Department of Environmental Quality website at and copies are available at the Butte, Twin Bridges, Whitehall and Three Forks public libraries and the Montana State Library in Helena.

Comments will be accepted until 5 p.m., Oct. 31, to DEQ, Box 200901, Helena, MT 59620, or submitted electronically at:

Details: Christina Staten, project coordinator, at 406-444-2836 or by e-mail at:

Draft Jefferson River Metals Project Area TMDLs
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