Superfund is a program managed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to identify contaminated sites in the US and then manage the clean up of these sites to protect human health and the environment.  

Cascade County has a rich history of mining activity that served a valuable purpose in it’s time, but in those earlier days, the impact to the environment and the potential public health issues from the processes used were not well known. Whenever possible, EPA works with these companies to pay for clean-up of the sites they contaminated.  

The Superfund sites identified in Cascade County are:

  • Carpenter Snow Creek Mining district (including Neihart)
  • Barker Hughesville Mining District
  • ACM Smelter and Refinery, Black Eagle site.

The primary contaminants in these sites are lead and arsenic found in the soils. Information on all of these sites are is available on the EPA website links below.

Carpenter Snow Creek Mining District (including Neihart) 

Barker Hughesville Mining District 

ACM Smelter and Refinery, Black Eagle    ​

CCHD currently has a cooperative agreement with the EPA to assist with working with the town of Neihart which is part of the Carpenter Snow Creek Mining District.  Eventually, when the clean-up of the contaminated residential yards in Neihart occurs, Cascade County will have a program (called “Institutional Controls”) that works to protect the remedy (clean up) of that site so it doesn’t get re-contaminated and also includes ongoing public health education regarding prevention of potential exposures to lead and arsenic in soils.

The clean-up of the yards in Neihart is dependent on when EPA headquarters is able to provide the needed funding to start the remedial action (clean up).  This is a process where EPA looks at all Superfund sites in the country and prioritizes them based on the human health risks associated with these sites. Until then, it is important to work with CCHD and the EPA if there are any plans for excavation projects on properties in Neihart.  This is to ensure that any excavation will not transport contaminated soils offsite or to prevent contaminated soils from being brought in and placed somewhere that was not previously contaminated.

If you will be doing any digging on your property or would like to know if your property has been sampled and what the results are, please call the CCHD contact person, Sandy Johnson, at 406-791-9275.  CCHD is considered the contact center for getting information and will assist with connecting these inquiries to the needed people assigned to this site.  Other contacts for the Neihart site include:

Tillman McAdams, EPA        406-457-5015

Catherine LeCour, Pacific Western Technologies  406-457-5495

Larry Dears, Pacific Western Technologies  406-548-8396

Superfund Site Resources:

Gardening & Lead: Safety Tips for Potentially Contaminated Soil

Ways to Protect Your Health