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Triumph Cleanup Will Cost $8.3 Million Work On Superfund Site Could Begin As Soon As Next Summer

SATURDAY, NOV. 15, 1997

State environmental officials are seeking public comment on a plan to spend $8.3 million to clean up pollution caused by operations of the old Triumph Mine.

A plan to clean up residential soils, tons of toxic tailings and polluted water was unveiled last week. If local residents approve and the federal Environmental Protection Agency and state Land Board go along, work could begin next summer.

The site is on the national Superfund List of polluted areas, but local residents feel it shouldn’t have gone on the list in the first place.

The EPA proposed Triumph as a Superfund site in 1993, but has voted to reverse that action once cleanup is finished.

A hearing is scheduled Tuesday at the Senior Center in Hailey. But after the plan was unveiled to public officials last week, some had complaints about it.

Blaine County Commissioner Rupert House questioned the level of risk. “It’s been there since 1940 and all of a sudden you’ve got a risk,” he said of the 60,000 cubic yards of tailings.

“Leave it alone,” he said.

The proposed plan calls for removing soil contaminated with arsenic from around some homes, consolidating and capping 30 acres of tailings and plugging the murky stream of acidic water flowing from the mine.

The Triumph Mine produced ore containing lead, zinc and silver from 1882 to 1957. The state is responsible for part of the cleanup. Previous mine operators and owners, such as ASARCO, also are considered “potential responsible parties” by EPA.

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