Monday, February 24, 2014

Early Action for Clean Up at Red Devil Mine  to Take Place Summer of 2014 - Address Your Comments Now Through March 21st, 2014!

February 19, 2014

Red Devil Mine Site - BLM Photo taken from http://www.blm.gov/ak/st/en/fo/ado/hazardous_materials/red_devil_mine.html
 
The Red Devil Mine is an abandoned mercury mine in Western Alaska, just up river from the Native Village of Georgetown.  Operation took place from 1939-1971.  Clean-up has been taking place since the 1970’s, with extensive work done by BLM since 1989. 

In 2009, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began an environmental investigation of the Red Devil Mine (RDM) site under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).  The Remedial Investigation (RI) also includes a Feasibility Study (FS) of possible site wide remediation methods.  Studies and sampling throughout the RI have shown that 1. mine tailings on site are the main source of mercury, arsenic, and antimony and 2. they are eroding into Red Devil Creek and migrating into the Kuskokwim River.

Because of this, the BLM is planning on action for 2014 (this summer!)  The early action will prevent tailings from continuing to erode into Red Devil Creek.  A site wide remedial action will still take place following the RI/FS (in 2016/2017), but this early action is intended to stop the spread of tailings in the time period between now and then.

On February 19th, 2014, a Draft Environmental Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA) was published for a 30 day public review period.  In the EE/CA, three different options for early action are explored in order to prevent tailings from migrating into Red Devil Creek.  The objective was to analyze options in terms of effectiveness, implementability and cost – and to find a preferred method.

Those options, or alternatives, as they are called in the EE/CA are as follows:
  1. Do nothing;
  2. Channelize and install a concrete cloth liner for a length of 250 feet along Red Devil Creek;
  3. Line creek with a 6 ft diameter culvert for a length of 250 feet; or
  4. Excavate tailings and part of Red Devil Creek for a length of 200 feet, and transport to a temporary storage area on site.
The first option to do nothing was analyzed to provide for comparison purposes against all other options.  Following the individual and comparable analysis provided in the EE/CA, it was determined that Alternative 4 would be the most effective and implementable approach.  Why?  It will be the most effective in preventing tailings from migrating into Red Devil Creek, it will be relatively easy to construct, and the cost is similar to the other alternatives.  It will also be most consistent with the site wide remedial action alternatives being considered. 

For more details on the four options that could take place this summer, you can review the EE/CA documents at www.blm.gov/ak/red_devil_mine.  They are available for public review and comments can be made through March 21, 2014.  In addition, several community meetings are being held throughout the Kuskokwim Region. 

 

Again, early action will take place THIS SUMMER.  That means construction will be happening in Red Devil SOON.  Take this opportunity to find out what BLM plans to do, and share your thoughts, questions and concerns!


 
How can you provide feedback?
  • Share your comments at one of the community meetings listed above
  • Provide e-mail comments at blm_ak_reddevil@blm.gov
  • Send written comments to: BLM Anchorage Field Office, 4700 BLM Road, Anchorage AK 99507
  • Fax Comments to: 907-267-1268
-  OR  -
  • Talk with your tribal council about your concerns and we will help get your comments heard!
Questions/Concerns?
Points of Contact:
  • Project e-mail address for BLM: blm_ak_reddevil@blm.gov
  • Alan Bittner, BLM Anchorage Field Manager 907-267-1264 or 800-478-1263
  • Mike McCrum, BLM RDM Project Manager 907-271-4426
And as always, you can send your questions or comments my way:

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