News Stories

District awards contract to continue with Elizabeth Mine cleanup

USACE, New England District
Published Feb. 28, 2018
The 43-acre cap at the Elizabeth Mine  in South Stafford, Vermont has been re-utilized by a private firm for a solar array providing enough electricity for about 1,200 homes annually.

The 43-acre cap at the Elizabeth Mine in South Strafford, Vermont has been re-utilized by a private firm for a solar array providing enough electricity for about 1,200 homes annually.

The Elizabeth Mine in South Strafford, Vermont has transformed from a detriment to aquatic life  to an award winning environmental project. The New England District and its contractors continue to improve the site.

The District awarded a $25 million Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract to Nobis Engineering on Dec. 19, 2017 for that purpose.  Efforts under the new IDIQ will include cleanup in the Lord Brook Source Area, including closure of an open pit lake, closure of   mine adits/entrances, and long term passive treatment of any remaining contaminated discharge.   Nobis Engineering, Inc., a small business firm from Concord, New Hampshire, had previously installed the tailing pile cap in 2011 and 2012 and performed wetland mitigation in 2013. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is funding the work.

Elizabeth Mine is one of the largest and most intact historic mining sites in New England.  “The Elizabeth Mine Superfund Site is located in Strafford, Vermont," said project manager Stephen Dunbar.  "It is an abandoned copper and iron-sulfate mine that operated from 1806 until 1958. The operations started as open-cut type mining with underground mining starting in 1886.  Between 1830 and 1930, about 250,000 tons of ore were mined, from which about 10.5 million pounds of copper were produced. From 1943 to 1958, three million tons of ore were mined, producing more than 90 million pounds of copper. All mining operations ceased in February 1958.  At the end of its operation, the mine was abandoned without any closure measures to restrict access or to prevent run-off from entering the mine.  In addition, there were 40 acres of exposed tailing piles (TP) which were still producing acid mine drainage.  The acid run-off was causing water quality problems in receiving waters of the drainage, Copperas Brook, and downstream in the west branch of the Ompompanoosuc River.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approached the New England District for assistance in 1999, beginning a long and massive cleanup effort.  “Starting in 2005, EPA Region 1 retained the New England District to design and cleanup the Superfund site,” said Dunbar. “The New England District project delivery team (PDT) initially focused their efforts on constructing surface water and groundwater diversion structures, stabilizing the steep slopes of the tailing piles, and capturing and treating the contaminated discharge.” 

Nobis has previously completed building demolition/abatement compliant with historic preservation requirements, re-graded the 43 acre site, constructed an engineered cap over 3 million cubic yards of waste, and treated millions of gallons of acid rock drainage and iron-impacted water.

Green Remediation Strategies implemented during construction received the Chief of Engineer’s Green Dream Team Award in 2014.  

The 43-acre cap has been re-utilized by a private firm for a solar array providing enough electricity for about 1,200 homes annually. 

Work on the Lord Brook Source Area is set to begin in March 2018 and will continue through the CY 2019 construction season.

The Pawcatuck River Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study

   This proposed plan is presented  to facilitate public involvement in the review and commenting on the remedy selection process for the Nantucket Memorial Airport (NMA) Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS.) 
    The Army Corps of Engineers is proposing a No Action under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act for the Munitions Response Site-1, Project Number D01MA049901 at NMA located on Nantucket Island, MA.  The proposal was prepared using the Guide to Preparing Superfund Proposed Plans, Records of Decision, and Other Remedy Selection Decision Documents (USEPA, 1999).
    The final decision for NMA Site-1 site will be made after reviewing and considering all information submitted during the public comment period. The proposed decision may be modified based on new information or public comments. The public is encouraged to review and comment on the proposed plan.
    The FUDS program addresses the potential explosives safety, health, and environmental issues resulting from past munitions use at former defense sites under the Department of Defense (DoD) Military Munitions Response Program, established by the U.S. Congress under the Defense Environmental Restoration Program.  
    FUDS only applies to properties that transferred from DoD before October 17, 1986 and the first priority of USACE is the protection of human health, safety, and the environment. 
    The Army is the executive agent for the FUDS Program, and USACE is the lead agency for investigation/reporting and remedial decision-making at this munitions site with regulatory support provided by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

Updated: 05 December 2016