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EPA Standard Mine project moving along with bulkhead installation

A watershed moment

[  By Mark Reaman  ]

As winter knocks on the door, remediation work at the Standard Mine west of Crested Butte on Mt. Emmons is beginning to wrap up. But first a big part of the project will be put in place in the form of a bulkhead in the mine that will manage water coming from the old mine. The concrete work for the bulkhead will be poured Friday.

Christina Progess, Superfund project manager at the Environmental Protection Agency, reported to the Crested Butte Town Council on Monday that construction work on the mine is still going on but some of the tunnels have been rehabbed and some shafts are being sealed off.

In an effort to have more controlled water releases, the bulkhead is being poured this week. Eventually a valve will be installed onto the pipe that will allow water to flow from behind the bulkhead.

“This is a big step for us,” Progess said. “There will be a lot of concrete trucks in the area Friday. The concrete takes about 28 days to cure and then we will go around the outside of the bulkhead and seal it off. We should be done with this by early November. Everything is going amazingly well on the project.”

While saying the installation of the bulkhead is a watershed moment for the project, Progess said there is still work to be done next spring once the snow melts.

Progess said the EPA would be monitoring nearby fissures and cracks in the mountain to see if they are impacted by the water buildup behind the bulkhead, especially in spring when runoff is at its peak. She explained that the EPA would develop an operations and maintenance plan. “But in the long-term, the plan is to hand it off to the state to monitor,” she said.

Mayor Glenn Michel said he appreciated the work done by the EPA in a challenging project.

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