Sunday, September 9, 2012

Red Devil Mine Update - September 2012

September 9, 2012

An article published on August 20, 2012 in The Alaska Dispatch describes dissatisfaction with the cleanup at the Red Devil Mine site.  The federal government owns the mine site, but the state argues that the BLM has been slow to clean it up.  

As directed by Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell, attorney general Michael Geraghty asked the EPA to place the 10 acre Red Devil site on the superfund national priorities list.  Doing so would place the former mine site on the nation’s list of most hazardous sites, helping it to get properly cleaned up and would also give the EPA final say on the clean up.  The EPA received this letter, and is reviewing options.  

BLM has resisted giving control to the EPA, and states they are taking the proper steps, and following federal cleanup laws – the same Superfund process the EPA would take.  They also noted they are working closely with the state and the EPA on the investigation.

The Kuskokwim Corporation, a consortium of 10 Alaska Native village corporations in the region, also worries about BLM’s cleanup efforts, and would like to see the EPA list Red Devil as a Superfund site.  

For full article please see:    

The Anchorage Daily News also reported on the topic in an article published on August 24, 2012: 

The same month, BLM issued a newsletter, giving an update on the Environmental Investigation.

It states that BLM continues work on a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility study for the RDM site.  The BLM collected samples during 2010 and 2011.  The results were analyzed to better understand potential impacts to the environment as a result of tailings left on site by past mine operations.  A draft RI report was created, and BLM is addressing comments and suggestions made by the state and the EPA.  The BLM will collect additional samples this September, and new data will be included in a revised RI report, expected to be finalized in the Spring of 2013.   A separate study has been underway on fish contaminants, and results of the 2010 data are available at  

BLM states that its next steps will be to use data from the Remedial Investigation to develop cleanup alternatives for the Feasibility Study.  They will then meet with communities from the Kuskokwim River, and address comments questions or concerns.  

SAFETY REMINDER:  BLM would like to remind you to not enter the Red Devil Mine site for any purpose, including subsistence activities.  The BLM has installed a second gate at the site and additional signage.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

September Water Quality Sampling
September 6, 2012 

That's the view from a Cessna 207 of Sleetmute, AK on our flight from Sleetmute to Aniak.  Will and I went out to Georgetown for our Fall water testing.  For more information on the testing itself, visit our Water Quality - Results page.

I don’t know about Will, but I was expecting rain and cold - we seemed to luck out and miss the rain they’d been having for the previous few days, if not weeks.  It was a fairly quiet trip - I spotted a moose on the banks of the Kuskokwim on our way down from Sleetmute.  We had lots of flights this time - our journey consisted of layovers in Aniak and Bethel before heading back to Anchorage.  Like always, it was nice to just have a day or two of quiet, away from town.

All was well in Georgetown, and yup - the water is still good!  It was revealing for me to get an aerial view of GTC’s land.  It looks a lot bigger and grander with this sort of view, although the view from Anne’s house is hard to beat.  I can only imagine how nice it would be to wake up, day after day, with a view such as this one.  For now, a flight overhead will have to do.