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HELENA - The Anaconda Mineral Co. smelter and refinery site in Black Eagle is one step closer to becoming the state's 16th Superfund environmental cleanup site.

The site near Great Falls is one of eight around the country the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to add to the National Priorities List. It is contaminated with heavy metals from decades of copper smelting between 1893 and 1980. Elevated levels of lead and arsenic have also been found in the soil at 375 homes in the area.

The EPA will open a 60-day public comment period on the proposed listing once it is published in the Federal Register. Publication is scheduled for Thursday.

Cascade County officials and Gov. Brian Schweitzer supported the listing and asked that the cleanup include millions of tons of waste dumped into the nearby Missouri River while the refinery was in operation.

 

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