Brimming toxic pit nears critical level after 3,000 bird deaths - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Brimming toxic pit nears critical level after 3,000 bird deaths

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BUTTE, Mont. (AP) - Residents of the Montana mining city of Butte say the deaths of more than 3,000 snow geese should be a wake-up call for the future of a former open pit mine that is filled with 50 billion gallons of acidic, metal-laden water.
    
The birds died last fall in the toxic stew that is part of the nation's largest Superfund site.
    
The Berkeley Pit is expected to reach a critical water level in 2023. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials are finalizing a plan to prevent contaminated water from escaping into other waterways or Butte's groundwater system.
    
Community activists say the plan to divert pit water into a treatment plant is risky and isn't a long-term solution.
    
EPA officials say the treatment plant will be tested and any necessary changes will be made before the critical level is reached.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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