Digging a mine shaft to plug the old one
by Mark Reaman
The Environmental Protection Agency is spearheading a major summer Superfund project to help mitigate issues coming from the old Standard Mine up Kebler Pass on Mt. Emmons. A $4.5 million, two-year project will begin later this spring as soon as road access to the mine opens up. The idea is to ultimately put in a bulkhead at the abandoned mine.
Christina Progess of the EPA presented the plan to the Standard Mine working group and interested citizens Wednesday, May 6 at the Crested Butte town hall. The work will bore a 350-foot-long tunnel into Mt. Emmons alongside the old Standard Mine mineshaft. The new tunnel will connect with the old tunnel, and in 2016 a bulkhead will be placed there. Discharge of the contaminated water from the mine will be controlled through a valve in the new bulkhead.
The tunnel will be eight feet high by eight feet wide and is expected to take eight weeks to construct. The rock from the construction will be stored on site so there will be no hauling of the ore.
The EPA would monitor the water in the tunnel for three to five years.