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Forest Service Cleanup at Monte Cristo mining area continues

(EVERETT)- The Forest Service, in consultation with Washington Department of Ecology, will continue work at the Monte Cristo Mining Area (MCMA) on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest this year.   “The Removal Action, conducted under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), will address hazardous substances released from abandoned mine facilities and wastes at Monte Cristo that present substantial risk to human health and the environment,” said Jennifer Eberlien, forest supervisor.

Re-establishment of equipment access from the Mt. Loop Highway to the townsite on the east side of the South Fork Sauk River (SFSR) began in August 2013.  Use of the closed Snohomish County Road was not feasible due to the twin bridge washout and a large landslide between Barlow Pass and the river.  The CERCLA access route east of the river will be completed this summer with the construction to two log stringer bridges and a connection to the Mt. Loop Highway that is located outside the SFSR riparian zone.  Additional work that will occur at the townsite this summer will include installation of groundwater monitoring wells and data-gathering events to support the on-going Removal Action Design workplan.

No closures to the public on the Snohomish County road from Barlow Pass to Monte Cristo or the townsite itself are anticipated for the summer of 2014.  The CERCLA access route on the east side of the river will be closed to all except Forest Service personnel, Department of Ecology and contractors during the 2014 construction season.   The Mt. Loop Road and Trail conditions are available online at: www.fs.usda.gov/goto/mbs/TR-Mt.Loop.

Implementation of the CERCLA Removal Action is scheduled to occur in the summer of 2015.  The Removal Action will include construction of a capped on-site repository, placement of a temporary log crossing of Glacier Creek and excavation of metals-contaminated waste rock at both lowland (Rainy Mine, Ore Collector, Ore Concentrator, Comet Terminal, Assay Shack and haul ways) and upland (Pride of the Woods Mine) sites.  Mine drainage at several mines will also be addressed.  Excavated waste rock will be placed in the on-site repository for isolation from the environment and human contact.  The Pride of the Woods Mine is located within the Henry M. Jackson Wilderness and access to this site will be accomplished via helicopter.  Closures of the Monte Cristo area and the Glacier Creek trail to the public will be implemented during this work in 2015.

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