A contaminated old mine in Brooksville is one of 49 Superfund sites across the country whose cleanup will be funded with $ 1 billion from the infrastructure bill recently passed and enacted in November.
The former Callahan Mining Corporation site operated from the late 1800s until it closed in 1972. It is the only contaminated site in Maine awaiting $ 1 billion investment funding. recently announced by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
“This site has been plagued with a legacy contamination that, so far, the EPA has not had the funds to clean up,” said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deb Szaro. “Removing this site from the backlog list and cleaning it up is a very important step for Brooksville to consider potential future uses for this area. “
Superfund sites are among the most contaminated in the country and the Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for cleaning up.
It is not yet clear how much funds will be set aside for the Callahan mine, said Bryan Olson, director of the New England Superfund and Emergency Management at the EPA.
Zinc and copper sulphide ore deposits were discovered at the site on the northwest side of Cape Rosier in Penobscot Bay in Brooksville in 1880.
The 120-acre site consists of a now submerged 300-foot-deep open pit mine, a former mining area, a series of waste rock piles and a tailings pond.
Arsenic and lead contaminations are present in the soil and rock at the site; copper, lead and zinc are found in high concentrations in sediments; and polychlorinated biphenyls, better known as PCBs, have also been found in the region.
Site clean-up has been underway since 2010 and the most recent work started in 2018. The project is awaiting funding to complete the current phase since 2019.
EPA officials hope this infrastructure bill funding will pay for the current cleanup phase as well as the start of work to address sediment contamination at the site, Olson said.
The current cost estimate for the sedimentation works is $ 12 million. The additional funding required to complete work already underway is $ 8 million. These estimates will be adjusted once the EPA contracts out the work, Olson said.