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Superfund Program Implements the Recovery Act

Elizabeth Mine

Strafford/Thetford, Vermont

Site Description
The Elizabeth Mine site is an abandoned copper and copperas (iron sulfate) mine located in the towns of Strafford and Thetford, VT.  Situated in a rural setting, the site lays south of Vermont Route 132 along the West Branch of the Ompompanoosuc River.  The nearly 970-acre site is the largest mining complex of the Vermont copper belt.  Copperas production occurred at the mine between 1809 and the 1880s, while the majority of the copper extraction and production occurred between 1942 and 1958. 

Cleanup Activities to Date
Since listing the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 2001, EPA has been addressing the site through both short- and long-term cleanup actions. The site’s key cleanup accomplishments include completing a time-critical removal action, which stabilized the mine’s tailing dam and prevented a potentially catastrophic release of tailings into the West Branch of the Ompompanoosuc River.  In addition, EPA has implemented part of a non-time critical removal action to control the three major source areas responsible for acid rock drainage, highly acidic water containing high concentrations of heavy metals, and leachate.  Implementation of a long-term cleanup action to address lead contamination is underway.  EPA meets regularly with the Elizabeth Mine Community Advisory Group, has awarded a Technical Assistance Grant to the community, and also has provided resources for a reuse assessment.

Recovery Act Project Activity
EPA will use the $8 million in Recovery Act funds to begin the final phase of a non-time critical removal action to control the three major source areas responsible for acid rock drainage and leachate. This work will contribute to the cleanup actions targeted to eliminate acid rock drainage from the site's waste piles and will also reduce greatly the leachate generated by the tailing impoundments. The final phase is a three- to four-year project, a portion of which will be funded via the Recovery Act. This funding will allow EPA to begin and complete this phase sooner than planned, which will shorten the time period for improvement of water quality.

The Recovery Act-related work was completed in 2010.

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