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The Pit of Life and Death

Article #325 • Written by Richard Solensky

Just outside Butte, Montana lies a pit of greenish poison a mile and a half wide and over a third of a mile deep. It hasn't always been so - it was once a thriving copper mine appropriately dubbed “The Richest Hill in the World.” Over a billion tons of copper ore, silver, gold, and other metals were extracted from the rock of southwestern Montana, making the mining town of Butte one of the richest communities in the country, as well as feeding America’s industrial might for nearly a hundred years. By the middle of the twentieth century, the Anaconda Mining Company was in charge of virtually all the mining operations. When running underground mines became too costly in the 1950’s, Anaconda switched to the drastic but effective methods of “mountaintop removal” and open pit mining. Huge amounts of copper were needed to satisfy the growing demand for radios, televisions, telephones, automobiles, computers, and all the other equipment of America’s post-war boom. As more and more rock was excavated, groundwater began to seep into the pit, and pumps had to be installed to keep it from slowly flooding.

By 1983, the hill was so exhausted that the Anaconda Mining Company was no longer able to extract minerals in profitable amounts. They packed up all the equipment that they could move, shut down the water pumps, and moved on to more lucrative scraps of Earth. Without the pumps, rain and groundwater gradually began to collect in the pit, leaching out the metals and minerals in the surrounding rock. The water became as acidic as lemon juice, creating a toxic brew of heavy metal poisons including arsenic, lead, and zinc. No fish live there, and no plants line the shores. There aren’t even any insects buzzing about. The Berkeley Pit had become one of the deadliest places on earth, too toxic even for microorganisms. Or so it was thought.

In 1995, an analytic chemist named William Chatham saw something unusual in the allegedly lifeless lake: a small clump of green slime floating on the water's surface. He snagged a sample and brought it to biologist Grant Mitman at the nearby Montana Tech campus of the University of Montana, where Mitman found to his amazement that the goop was a mass of single-celled algae. He called in fellow Tech faculty Andrea and Don Stierle, experts in the biochemistry of microorganisms. The Stierles had recently been trekking about the northwest, looking for cancer-fighting compounds in local fungi with great success. Coincidentally, the Stierles’ funding had just run out, and they needed a new project. They leapt at the opportunity to study these bizarre organisms.

After examining the slime under a microscope, the researchers identified it as Euglena mutabilis, a protozoan which has the remarkable ability of being able to survive in the toxic waters of the Berkeley Pit by altering its local environment to something more hospitable. Through photosynthesis, it increases the oxygen level in the water, which causes dissolved metals to oxidize and precipitate out. In addition, it pulls iron out of the water and sequesters it inside of itself. This makes it a classic example of an extremophile.

Euglena mutabilis
Euglena mutabilis

Extremophiles are organisms that can tolerate and even thrive in environments that will destroy most other living things. Some can even repair their own damaged DNA, a trait which makes them extremely interesting to cancer researchers. The Stierles reasoned that where there’s one extremophile, there may be others – most likely blown in by the wind. Given their previous successes with strange microorganisms, the researchers believed that the Berkeley Pit and its fledgling extremophile population could produce some medically useful chemicals.

The Stierles were so intrigued by the possibilities that they started work even before securing funding. A squadron of expert researchers was recruited from the undergrads at Montana Tech, and even from a local high school. They collected water samples, isolated microorganisms, and cultured them. The team eventually identified over 160 different species, but they lacked the equipment needed to isolate the interesting chemicals from the microorganisms. Shlepping around western Montana, the Stierles begged and borrowed time at other facilities while they doggedly processed the cultured organisms. Their tenacity led to the discovery of a number of promising chemicals. Three of these, berkeleydione, berkeleytrione, and Berkeley acid, came from species of the fungus Penicillium that had never been seen before, and were therefore named after the Berkeley Pit.

The next step was to see what effect these chemicals had, if any, on other living cells. Thanks to modern biochemical assay techniques, dozens of chemicals can be tested against one organism-- or one chemical against dozens of organisms-- in a single pass. For reasons that are not entirely clear, many compounds which attack cancer cells are also harmful to brine shrimp, therefore most modern assay tests include the brine shrimp lethality test as a standard procedure. The Stierles exposed swarms of tiny crustacean volunteers to the Berkeley Pit chemicals, and to their delight, five of the chemicals showed anti-cancer properties. Further tests revealed that berkeleydione helped slow the growth of a type of lung cancer cell, and Berkeley acid went after ovarian cancer cells. All five were passed along to the National Cancer Institute for further study.

Other researchers are looking into the Pit as well - not for cancer-fighters or other drugs, but simply for ways to help clean the place up. In 1995, a flock of migrating snow geese stopped at the massive pond for a rest, and at least 342 of them died there. Authorities now use firecrackers and loudspeakers to scare away migrating waterfowl, but there have been a few smaller die-offs nonetheless. Also, on certain mornings, a sinister mist creeps out of the Pit and wraps its tentacles around the streets of Butte. Citizens are understandably anxious about this potentially poisonous fog of doom. The water level is rising at a rate of several inches a month, and if unchecked it will spill over into the area’s groundwater in twenty years.

That danger has earned the area the dubious distinction of being one of the EPA’s largest Superfund sites. Normally such water is treated by adding lime to the water to reduce the acidity and remove much of the metal, however the Berkeley Pit is so saturated with undesirables that this process would produce tons of toxic sludge every day. Other methods are safer, but are prohibitively expensive. Currently, the EPA's plan is to focus on containment.

Grant Mitman believes that the best way to clean up the Pit is to use the algae that already live there. E. Mutabilis, for one, tends to grow in clumps. These clumps clean up their neighborhoods enough for other extremophiles to move in. These organisms would collect the metals within their own cells, and upon dying they would sink to the bottom and drag the metals with them. To Mitman, it’s all a matter of finding the right mix of extremophiles for a self-sustaining algal colony. Once the right mix is found, there are many other mine-contaminated waters awaiting treatment that could use a similar biology-based cleanup.

With metals concentrated at the bottom, and cleaner water at the top, the Pit could conceivably be reopened. The bottom sludge could be collected and processed for its ever-more-valuable metal content, and the water could be used for industry or agriculture. While it might not be safe to drink, the water could still be worth a quarter million dollars a year in a water-hungry West. In the meantime, the Pit has become a popular tourist attraction. There's a small museum and gift shop located well above the water level. A number of National Historic Landmarks related to mining are in the area, which has prompted some people to call for the creation of a National Park centered on the Pit. With luck, what was once the Richest Hill in the World could eventually provide riches of a different sort.

Article written by Richard Solensky, published on 01 July 2008. Richard Currently working for his county government as an "office assistant", Richard has a Master's degree in astronomy and is a long-time member of a medieval re-creation society.

Edited by Alan Bellows.

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113 Comments
Two Cents from Girth
Posted 01 July 2008 at 03:16 pm

Ah ha! Of course I must make a comment on being first...


JJ10
Posted 01 July 2008 at 03:20 pm

bah, closest yet


Richard Solensky
Posted 01 July 2008 at 03:20 pm

Jeez, you guys are TOO FAST!

I literally just finished the final edits, and wanted to be First on my own article!


Redneck Beauty
Posted 01 July 2008 at 03:45 pm

Closest to first Ive ever been!


npinguy
Posted 01 July 2008 at 04:08 pm

I went on google maps to see if I could spot the offending pit of doom from satelite view.

I tell ya, it wasn't too hard.
http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=Butte,+Montana&ie=UTF8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&ll=46.005309,-112.496052&spn=0.089068,0.285645&t=h&z=13


c0uchtime
Posted 01 July 2008 at 04:18 pm

As DI articles go, this was a Butte!!!!!!!!!!


MonkeyBones
Posted 01 July 2008 at 04:20 pm

Good thing mother nature is there to clean up the mess they've left behind.
It is not always the case though. Exxon.


Wobbles
Posted 01 July 2008 at 04:44 pm

MonkeyBones said: "Good thing mother nature is there to clean up the mess they've left behind."

Actually, all they did was dig a big hole. Mother Nature made the mess.


gork
Posted 01 July 2008 at 04:49 pm

Another little interesting tidbit about this place is that there was a dog inexplicably living at the site. Though the dog has since died (and a statue has been made of it) it used to come around with such regularity that it earned a nickname, The Auditor


yu_chan
Posted 01 July 2008 at 06:04 pm

As always, great article!

Now, let me ramble...
...So, let's say that after some time, they are able to develop cures for cancer and ways to clean up all sorts of pollution and other very powerful things by studying the newly discovered microorganisms of this pit. What would the public image of Anaconda be? Would they be the evil, uncaring, money hungry, pollution mongers like other chemical companies (case in point: Love Canal, etc), or would the fact that they took what they wanted (valuable resources) and left the remainder (unmanagable toxic waste) for someone else to deal with (unknowing citizens fo Butte) be swept under the rug, or even celebrated since it lead to the holy grail of modern science: the "cure for cancer"?


floatingk
Posted 01 July 2008 at 06:42 pm

You have to check out the skit from the Jon Stewart Show on the pit. It was absolutely hilarious, considering Im from there....


kiwi-guy
Posted 01 July 2008 at 06:49 pm

"a sinister mist creeps out of the Pit and wraps its tentacles around the streets of Butte".
Ha ha - love it.
But I wonder why "Centerville" is on the outskirts of town?


kiwi-guy
Posted 01 July 2008 at 07:04 pm

Just to let you know I'm not superstitious.


lizdini
Posted 01 July 2008 at 07:08 pm

It looks like a giant gaping maw on the googlemap. Like something waiting for someone to throw a ring in it.


Zack Hembree
Posted 01 July 2008 at 07:38 pm

Yeah, a gaping, deadly fog spewing, black hole pit of death smack in the middle of Butte! hahaha funny! good article!


Bicep
Posted 01 July 2008 at 08:12 pm

I would think that with all the minerals in the soil, their groundwater would have been bad before. Maybe the mining company did them a favor removing the ones they did. The extremophiles were probably living there before the pit was dug.


GiddyGiant
Posted 01 July 2008 at 08:26 pm

bit of a natural disaster waiting to happen isn't it? What if there are heavy rains or other natural causes that raise the water level to above contained expectations? How much is too much of this water to get into how much of natural groundwater? Where is the line, and for how long is containment expected to be the cure?


IncoherentPerson
Posted 01 July 2008 at 08:27 pm

Okay, my family was in this area during a vacation, and it turns out there is a town nearby called Dick. The jokes that can be derived from this are nearly endless; due to geographical movement, Dick will be inside Butte within a million years. Etc., etc., etc.
Sorry about the crude jokes, DI article.


uthor
Posted 01 July 2008 at 09:29 pm

How long before the mutants start climbing out?


Dr. Bivoc
Posted 01 July 2008 at 10:02 pm

Sounds like an excellent spot to try solution mining. Solution mining is when they pump hot water through rock, bringing it back to the surface to get the metal or mineral they want back out of the water. It sounds like the water is already there, so just pump it out and recover the metal(s) from solution. For some metal clean up it is cheaper to produce pure metal and "store" it in a warehouse for "future use" than to dispose of a lot of contaminated soil. I am sure that a use can be found for the cleaned water after the metals are pulled out. Anaconda may still make some money off of it when they start cleaning it up.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 01 July 2008 at 11:40 pm

Amazing how in 1983, a time of a great bust across most of the nation, the company pulled out. This undoubtably left many families without an income in already trying times. Miners, operators and normal towns folk positions had to have been affected. What is amazing is that few of us can tell where the things we use come from until after the money runs out and we are left with the clean up. We should know about the mines and how they clean as they go now, not 25 years after they close.
A solution is a pump and a shovel and yes, Butte well water has probally always been tainted but I am willing to admit it has probally gotten worse by the delaying of putting alakaline fill into the pit or perhaps sealing the edge and bottom with a liner, much like the new swimming pools. In the five minutes of thought I have put into this, these two ideas seem at least plausible...what solutions have other minds had in 25 years?? Besides lawsuits and who done it specials. We all like to share in the benifits of these mines but always grumble when it comes time to "clean up our room before we can go play"...
I do believe the companies have a responsibility to help clean up; but I also believe Butte would not have minded a mile long, third of a mile deep Lake Trout and Walleye lake in the city, probally got caught and mounted on the dollar signs from a fishing lodge and a few bed and breakfasts. The point is, besides a few people who probally knew what they were talking about and were over loooked and ignored as is the case in many blunders, neither the company nor the towns people knew the pit was going to turn as bad as it did.
In the mid 80's, we were in a pinch financially with defence spending taking precedence. We were more concerned about being nuked than poisoned. So when we look back, our focus becomes clearer when we look thru the glasses that were being worn during the times, not just a critical interepretation using modern concerns and trends along with the 20/20 hindsight. The early 80's did see a creature arise out of pits like this, it is called the EPA, a multiheaded beast used to slow the ravenous Industrial Jugggernaunt we unleashed on our land so many years ago. Now, environmentalists want the EPA as a pocket pet and are trying to send it to obedience training by using court cases. If I thought it was truely for the environments sake, I'd be all for it; but like most movements, it's end goal is turning a profit. These are just attempts at adding strings to make the EPA a puppet organization??
As far as Butte goes, they have not been exactly green for the last 150 or so years... some great land stripping, deep mining, drilling, logging etc. was done in these areas, the state was able to make its population of 50,000 by a good portion of those being miners, land granted farmers and of course ranchers and their "hands" (personally dont like that term...). Not an exactly eco friendly group of "nice fellers". Now if we want to google up some more "neat stuff" to look at, go to the east side where I-15 and I-90 merge, follow that west until I-15 and I-90 separate near Santa Claus rd., look to the north of the road, you'll see the water treatment plant right there on the little river/creek/surface water. That water comes down from the hills and those creeks of Montana have sparkling enchantment all there own, some with pirana like brook trout. In this case, the cities "cleaned water" is dumped into the creek? My question has always been: "If it is so clean, why dont you drink it and put it with our other water?" Scary thing is, some places do!! eeeewwww!
Even that isnt too friendly an option for Butte; either drink the water youve cleaned from the creek youve dirtied or drink from the well that put those fancy houses on the hill for you folks, bitter sweet...either way, probally leaves a bad taste in the mouth. I'd recommend the Wal Mart gallon distilled water, vintage 2008. oh, by the way, I lived in Great Falls MT :) so my stuff might be a "little" slanted/biased. :)


Lisette
Posted 02 July 2008 at 02:18 am

Hmmm excellent article. I just watched Evolution last night.


GeorgeAR
Posted 02 July 2008 at 04:28 am

uthor said: "How long before the mutants start climbing out?"

That explains the presidential candidates.... Hmmmm....


GilaMonster
Posted 02 July 2008 at 06:42 am

It's my understanding that most, if not all, organisms can repair their own damaged DNA. Correct me if I'm wrong.


Radiatidon
Posted 02 July 2008 at 07:09 am

The EPA in the United States manages a list of the top 25 Superfund Polluters in the USA and their Toxic Waste Sites. Of this list, 42 states have at least one Superfund site created by a company on it. The worst offender on the list is General Electric with possible connections to Superfund sites in 28 different states.

The top 10 Super Polluters are listed in the following, starting with the worst:

1 – General Electric – 86 sites
2 – DuPont – 81 sites
3 – General Motors – 64 sites
4 – Union Carbide – 51 sites
5 – Shell Oil – 48 sites
6 – Browning Ferris Industries – 43 sites
7 – Ford Motor – 40 sites
8 – Ashland Chemical – 39
9 – Westinghouse Electric – 39
10 – Ciba-Geigy – 38

The top 5 states with the most Superfund sites are:

1 – New Jersey – 117 sites
2 – Pennsylvania – 110 sites
3 – California– 94 sites
4 – New York – 88 sites
5 – Michigan – 82 sites

Though the US is targeted for pollutants, other countries are far worse in environmental destruction. The top two are China and India.

Depending how one reads the list, various countries can be pushed to the top depending on type of pollutant based on population. For instance Australia is the world’s worst polluter per capita producing five times more carbon due to power generating than China, which holds the second spot according to CARMA. CARMA is a database that monitors carbon emissions of over 4,000 power companies and over 50,000 power plants worldwide.

Working off this same list, the worst polluting power plants are:

1 – Janschwalde in Germany with 27.4 million tons.
2 – Belhatov in Poland with 25.5 million tons.
3 – Drax in the UK with 23.7 million tons.

So next time you turn on your computer, just think of what went back into the environment to create it and power it.

The Don.


Radiatidon
Posted 02 July 2008 at 07:44 am

Also I might point out that it is not just large, money hungry, soulless corporations that contribute to the destruction of our environment. As many know who read my mental meanderings, and considered by some as mere verbosity. I was captured, tortured, and finally left for dead. I was unceremoniously dumped into a cesspool outside a village deep in the jungle. Not just a collection of human refuse, it also contained artifacts of modern living. Including, if my memory serves me right since my mental state was impaired at the time, castoffs such as food tins, plastic chemical containers, and the sort.

That cesspool is leaching into the soil and very likely contaminating the groundwater there. Which could in time also infiltrate the local river, a major source of drinking water. Enough of these cesspools will combine pollutants that can poison the very people tossing their refuse into them. Not counting unwary, half-breed American tourists.

In a related incident, I recall a news report years ago about a Ski Resort in which a large group of patrons became very ill. They finally discovered that the source was the toilets. You see, further up the slope the facilities dumped the gunk direct into the ground. Where it oozed its way into the groundwater. This is turn spiced the resort well with intestinal tickling microbes that patrons unwittingly ingested from drinking fountains and ice lain drinks. Yummy!

Of course this is why I test my own well water monthly. You never know what the bio/silt filters will miss.

The Don.


MonkeyBones
Posted 02 July 2008 at 01:58 pm

MonkeyBones said: "Good thing mother nature is there to clean up the mess they've left behind."

Wobbles said: "Actually, all they did was dig a big hole. Mother Nature made the mess."

I didn't break your legs!? The baseball bat did !


Guttersnipe
Posted 02 July 2008 at 02:28 pm

First! . . . comment I've ever posted.

I've always been in favour of occasional horrendous acts of environmental degradation in order to boost the evolution of cool super-organisms. The wealth of medical knowledge arising from this incident just goes to show you that every potentially poisonous fog of doom has a silver lining.


kittykactus
Posted 02 July 2008 at 03:23 pm

Wow. DI indeed! Extremophiles are fascinating.


cinndave
Posted 02 July 2008 at 04:43 pm

Bicep said: "I would think that with all the minerals in the soil, their groundwater would have been bad before. Maybe the mining company did them a favor removing the ones they did. "

Unlikely. Most mines go below the water table. Usually, rainwater only sinks a few dozen feet into the earth before it hits solid bedrock it can't penetrate. That's called the water table. As it seeps through dense sand and tight cracks in rocks, it becomes naturally filtered, so it's nice to drink if it ever reaches a manmade well. It doesn't reach the poison metals deep below which was where the miners were going. When they dug a gigantic hole through the bedrock that stops groundwater from seeping any deeper, groundwater went all the way to the bottom and absorbed the poisonous metal compounds.This lake was probably made by groundwater that kept leaking in until the water height in the pit reached the depth of the water table.

I loved my geology class!


portsmouth101
Posted 02 July 2008 at 06:06 pm

Dr. Bivoc said: "Sounds like an excellent spot to try solution mining. Solution mining is when they pump hot water through rock, bringing it back to the surface to get the metal or mineral they want back out of the water. It sounds like the water is already there, so just pump it out and recover the metal(s) from solution. For some metal clean up it is cheaper to produce pure metal and "store" it in a warehouse for "future use" than to dispose of a lot of contaminated soil. I am sure that a use can be found for the cleaned water after the metals are pulled out. Anaconda may still make some money off of it when they start cleaning it up."

LOL. Yes, it would be Damn Interesting to see whether you are able to do this "solution mining", however rich executives sticking their toys in extremely toxic water/soil would be enough for the townspeople, as well as the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to object to it. I am sure that the grounds could be "solution mined" if in fact there is substantial remoteness from all life (if there is any). With all the work through the government, and all the people complaining, I think it would be easier to invest in Oil...


Joshua
Posted 02 July 2008 at 09:10 pm

From the article: "For reasons that are not entirely clear, many compounds which attack cancer cells are also harmful to brine shrimp, therefore most modern assay tests include the brine shrimp lethality test as a standard procedure."

PETA campaign to stop lab researchers' wanton slaughter of brine shrimp commences in 5... 4... 3...


misfit
Posted 03 July 2008 at 12:52 am

MonkeyBones said: "I didn't break your legs!? The baseball bat did !"

Seriously? I think this attitude unduly portrays the Anaconda mining company as an entity just out there to 'break Mother Natures legs.' (not exactly what you said, I know, but that's not my point) You're not helping the situation by pointing out villains left and right. I think a better bodily analogy would be if one was trying to trim someone's fingernails and wound up drawing blood because they cut too much off. Only this wouldn't be a good analogy because unlike copper, silver, or gold, fingernails aren't really a precious commodity to anybody. I think it's time to put ourselves in their shoes and think maybe they got into the mining business to HELP people.


misfit
Posted 03 July 2008 at 12:56 am

Oh, and by the way,
Really fascinating article!! If they can use these to help fight cancer, that's AMAZING!!
On a different note, I didn't know humans weren't the only ones who changed their surroundings to suit themselves.


dentarthurdent
Posted 03 July 2008 at 02:09 am

misfit said: "think maybe they got into the mining business to HELP people."

Think maybe they got into the mining business for the sake of doing business.

misfit said: "I didn't know humans weren't the only ones who changed their surroundings to suit themselves."

Don't birds build nests, and spiders, webs ?


fvngvs
Posted 03 July 2008 at 04:25 am

Radiatidon said: ...
Of course this is why I test my own well water monthly. You never know what the bio/silt filters will miss...

Totally off-topic I know, but I'm interested in water sufficiency:

What do you test for Don?

Bacterials? Chemicals?


atonyt
Posted 03 July 2008 at 04:54 am

Joshua said: "PETA campaign to stop lab researchers' wanton slaughter of brine shrimp commences in 5… 4… 3…"

That was awesome because you know there is some nut out there really upset on how shrimp are treated.

Loved it.


another viewpoint
Posted 03 July 2008 at 05:01 am

...so, after the pit solution is pumped off somewhere (?)...to expose the riches in the muck beneath, what's left to sustain the growth of algae and other mutant cell lifeforms? Seems like the long awaited recreation of wealth, greed and profit will destroy the very organisms that science hopes provides cures for various ills.

* * *
Great article...DI too! And let's not forget...today the pits...tomorrow the wrinkles!


Radiatidon
Posted 03 July 2008 at 06:49 am

fvngvs said: "Totally off-topic I know, but I'm interested in water sufficiency:

What do you test for Don?

Bacterials? Chemicals?"

I perform a visual water purity, smell test, and taste test direct from the wellhead. Next because I reside in a rural atmosphere, I test for pesticides, coliform, nitrates, pH, growth hormones, and TDS. Also because of the natural processes that occur I test for iron, arsenic, chloride, and sulfur.

The ambient water temperature is very important to me. Any increase of more than a couple degrees will have me testing for bacterial growth. Usually it runs around 57 degrees.

My water does show signs of fresh-water shrimp, which means we have tapped either an underground lake or slow moving water source. We hit viable water at 60’, then at 120’, next at 182’, but finally settled on 196’ because we got the gpm we needed.

Unlike other wells in the area that I have tested for friends, my well remains low in nitrates and TDS year round. Some I tested had an increase in nitrates and TDS during the spring and fall. I tend not to drink their water. ; )

Overall my water quality is rather good. I still pass it through a natural bio and chemical filtration system though. Really not into drinking Sea Monkeys you know.

The Don.


BlackFoxOne
Posted 03 July 2008 at 06:53 am

Pretty sad, the profits dry up, so just leave the mess behind. they should be made to pay for this.

JT


elphaba
Posted 03 July 2008 at 12:54 pm

Very interesting. Large pits of toxic sludge are always intriguing (bah, i can't spell).


sh0cktopus
Posted 03 July 2008 at 02:31 pm

That first picture is awesome. Just let your natural ability to see faces in patterns take hold ... it's the Toxic Avenger in agony on acid. It looks like humanity will never be able to destroy all life on Earth, unless we can figure out how to deorbit into the sun. I'm skeptical that any conceivable extremophile could survive in the solar atmosphere, but you never know ... as Ian Malcolm might say, "Life finds a way."


slickdick101
Posted 03 July 2008 at 03:28 pm

I looked at the satellite photo on google maps. Doesn't it look like there is something flowing into the lake from the right side? That is some DI stuff.


D Hall
Posted 04 July 2008 at 07:18 am

Pretty interesting story, but one minor quibble: Computers were not a comon consumer item back when the Anaconda Berkeley Pit was open. In 1983, the Apple II was fairly new technology the Macintosh, and the IBM clones were the main source of PCs. I suspect the total amount of copper in all the personal computers in existance when the mine shut down was less than 1/2 % of the copper produced. Far more copper went into the plumbing and wiring of all the houses built since the end of World War II.

BTW: The ground water pollution in Butte has been a long-term problem. When I first visited Butte in 1986, all the water in town tasted of copper. This made for rather odd tasting coffee and sodas at the restaurants. At the hotel where I stayed, I filled the bathtub and by the time the water was 6 inches deep, I couldn't see the bottom. The municipal water was that clouded with minerals.


unbalancedpj
Posted 04 July 2008 at 09:14 am

"I think it's time to put ourselves in their shoes and think maybe they got into the mining business to HELP people."

Maybe helping people was their motivation to get into mining IF their original motivations were perfectly altrustic. I'll be the first one to give the mining company the benefit of a doubt, but they packed up real quick when the money dried up.


sd9sd
Posted 05 July 2008 at 01:19 am

Quote from the article: "...quarter million dollars a year in a water-hungry West."
Shouldn't that be water-thirsty west? :)

And Girth (#21), the girth of that post is definitely more than two cents ;)


kid charlemagne
Posted 06 July 2008 at 09:28 pm

According to my mother, I was conceived while she was on Berkeley acid.

Whether her definition of "conceived" is literal or figural is open to interpretation.


Silverhill
Posted 07 July 2008 at 03:01 pm

elphaba said: "Very interesting. Large pits of toxic sludge are always intriguing (bah, i can't spell)."
elphaba, if this is typical of your spelling ability---congratulations! You are among the lamentably few well-educated people to be found on the 'Net. :-)

misfit said: "On a different note, I didn't know humans weren't the only ones who changed their surroundings to suit themselves."
I found out something fascinating about cedar trees in this regard (the eastern American white cedar, at least). They prefer alkaline soil, and if they germinate in acidic soil they commence altering its pH until it suits them!


Anthropositor
Posted 08 July 2008 at 12:01 pm

A chemistry professor, Abul Hussam devised a “simple” (low tech) water filter with the central purpose of removing arsenic from well water. It is a three-stage filter employing sand, iron filings and charcoal. Dr. Hussam won the $1,000,000 Grainger prize for his efforts, plowing more than two thirds of it back into production of the filters for the population of Bangladesh, where millions of people have no option but to drink water very highly contaminated with arsenic.

A problem yet to be solved is what to do with the filtering materials that have trapped the arsenic. A very tiny problem compared to the witches brew of the Berkeley Pit. I do not know though, if dumping tons of alkali into it, to precipitate out the heavy metals is the right place to start. The liquid in that pit is highly acidic. No reason it couldn't be used as an electrolyte to plate out the heavy metals in concentrated solid form. Solar panels could provide the electricity required and the system could be devised to minimize human exposure to the toxic liquids and gases. It could be entirely robotic. The amalgam of heavy metals plated out could then be efficiently smelted and separated and re-used industrially.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 08 July 2008 at 12:52 pm

Another great set of ideas Anthropositor #49. That makes at least three solutions that would have at least some results. Who do the citizens of Butte need to call to get these ideas rolling?
I believe the lawyers have spend more money discussing the legality of the pit when in actuality, that same ammount of coin could be used toward a tangible solution, even if it were only a partial recovery.
A great article to inform us of some sore spots we have upon the land. Whatever happened to those barrels of nuclear waste that had the 200 year rated barrel life but the 600 year radioactivity...? Perhaps we should go retrieve those before the Oceans of our childrens children suddendly become clouded by our ooze...
A good article written on sound footing.
Thanks


Pistol
Posted 08 July 2008 at 06:00 pm

There is something to be said about the word amalgam. .. it is wonderful.
DI article.
It makes you wonder, where else are extremophiles living yet to be discovered.


avolosin
Posted 09 July 2008 at 10:33 am

I'm hesitant to say that plating out the heavy metals would be possible as suggested in #49.

It would be dependent upon the reduction potentials of the undesired metals/materials being lower than that of water itself, otherwise you're just splitting water with solar energy.

The other problem is that for a reduction of metal ions at the cathode of the cell, there has to be an oxidation of ions at the anode. So you have to replace the ions in solution with other ions to maintain solution neutrality. Generally, in the case of electroplating materials in industry, your anode is made out of the material that you are plating, i.e. a copper anode is used in conjunction with a copper solution for plating copper onto something else.

It would be an excellent solution, but it's feasibility makes me wonder.


sierra_club_sux
Posted 09 July 2008 at 11:19 am

Umm, do I need a license to fish here?


Anthropositor
Posted 09 July 2008 at 09:33 pm

I too have reservations about any idea in the brainstorming stage. Let's see what we can sort out from what we know. We have a large body of highly acidic liquid, containing lot's of heavy metal ions. In a standard electroplating the objective is to transfer the substance of the anode to plate the cathode. But when there are already plenty of diverse metalic cations in the brew, I think maybe just the application of a direct current should plate out ionic heavy metals and perhaps some other chemicals as well. That might complicate things.

But my notion is that, given an anode that contributes nothing but the transmission of direct current, some of the ions already saturating the solution are going to plate out at the cathode, and might continue to do so until the concentrations of ions in solution is markedly reduced. Easy thing to test. Things will plate out on the cathode, or they won't, with an appropriate current. Probably produce some bubbles too. My guess is that the bubbles will be other gases than hydrogen and oxygen.

Speaking of the splitting of water using solar energy, this water may be about as undesireable as possible for that purpose.

With regard to treating the water with an alkali to precipitate out the metals; Would this not kill off the handful of extremophiles that show so much potential in medicine? And even cleaning the water in less dramatic ways successfully, could still bring about the extinction of these extreme life forms. Even extremophiles require a certain level of homeostasis for a healthy life.


Dr. Bivoc
Posted 09 July 2008 at 11:08 pm

As a chemistry teacher, electroplating (or in this case, electroprecipitation) is normally commercially done in a plating bath (electrolyte) that is of fairly constant composition. The anode is made of the metal to be plated onto the cathode so that the electrolyte can stay at the most profitable composition for plating. The composition of the electrolyte often effects things like the texture of the surface produced. (Rough Chrome plating does not sell well.) The process can also be run in a way that the anode can also produce a product. In hydrolyzing water, that product is oxygen. When lye is produced, the anode product is chlorine gas (the most common source of commercial chlorine). In the Berkeley Pit, the anode will probably produce oxidation products of some of the anions that make the water acidic. Some of those have commercial potential. The problem with this scheme is that the cost of the electricity is probably higher than the price of the recovered metal and other products. Only when compared to the cost of other kinds of clean up could it be told if it is cheaper to clean it up by recovering the metals, or just tossing them away. The advantage of electroplating the metals, is that the metal that comes out is dependent on voltage applied. If one were to gradually increase the applied voltage, one would get almost completely pure metals out, no further need for refining for most uses. However, only Aluminum and the Alkali and Alkaline Earth metals are commercially produced by electrochemical means in any large scale. Other methods are cheaper. There are possible solution techniques for getting the metals to separate from the water. Many of these can be done on a very large scale so are ideal for industrial processes. None will probably be done unless someone sees a profit motive, as it will take a lot of money to set up, so pay back times will be long. One of the profit motives can be to reduce the cleanup cost or (daily) fines for not cleaning up, so the lawsuits may be the only way to motivate certain people, as much of a waste as spending the money on lawyers may seem. There is much research being done now on ways to remove even lower levels of metals out of water, for pollution control. The biggest problem there in Butte is that the site was abandoned before companies were required to be responsible for the clean up (or total life cycle cost) so they could walk away and leave the cost to others. Much of the legal dickering has been in trying to figure out who has the responsibility for cleaning it. Everyone knows it will be expensive, and take a long time. Everyone involved wants someone else to be that responsible party. If someone could make a profit directly, then that someone might step up to take the problem off everyone else's hands. There are small scale projects going on in other areas in old mining areas to see if that can be done to certain streams and creeks. I think a open pit would be easier, therefore cheaper. Making the water neutral or alkaline to precipitate the metals is one technique being tried. Just making the pit alkaline and letting it settle to the bottom would make it expensive to recover. Pumping it out so that the clean water can be used immediately and the metals be settled out in a shallow pond or large tank makes more sense economically. Even if the best disposal method for the sludge is burying it in a hazardous waste landfill, it is easier to get it from the bottom of a pond or tank than a deep pit.


Anthropositor
Posted 10 July 2008 at 12:49 pm

Interesting and valuable comment. But, as a chemistry professor, do you think my idea has enough merit to experiment with? Or is it rubbish?


paalexan
Posted 10 July 2008 at 05:20 pm

Irony: if there are extremophile species known at present only from the Pit, cleaning the thing up would be in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

In practice, however, this is not a problem as the ESA is usually interpreted to apply only to cute and fuzzy organisms. Or at least macroscopic ones.


Anthropositor
Posted 10 July 2008 at 08:29 pm

Yes indeed. That is what I was hinting at in the last paragraph of #54.


girlyengineer
Posted 11 July 2008 at 10:22 am

Warning: I am a little biased since I lived in Butte for years while going to school.

But, do you honestly think no one has put any time or money into researching ways to clean up or neutralize the Berkeley Pit? There is an engineering university less than 2 miles (3km) away! Thousands of professors, students and businesses have spent hundreds of thousands of hours and millions of dollars researching ways to mine, clean up or neutralize the pit. If you have a great way to take care of 57 billion gallons of water with a pH of 2.5, give the university a call and tell them.

And they are doing something about it already.
In 1996 they started diverting all the cleaner steams to prevent them from flowing into the pit.
In 2003 the water treatment plant went online. They clean the pit water, dumping the clean water into the river and the remaining sludge back into the pit. Currently there no other option for the sludge, but have no fear, hundreds of people are working on it.
Learn more about the pit here http://www.mbmg.mtech.edu/env/env-berkeley.asp

The ground water is undrinkable so all of the tap water is pumped over the mountains from the Big Hole River. You can see the bottom of the bathtub when it is full and there is no coppery taste to the water.

And as for the "rich people of Butte" taking care of it, 15% of the 34,000 people in Butte live below the poverty line.


Anthropositor
Posted 11 July 2008 at 10:10 pm

girlyengineer said:
In 1996 they started diverting all the cleaner steams to prevent them from flowing into the pit.

In 2003 the water treatment plant went online. They clean the pit water, dumping the clean water into the river and the remaining sludge back into the pit. Currently there no other option for the sludge, but have no fear, hundreds of people are working on it.


I'm struggling to understand... with all the ready resources and the battalions of experts... what is currently being done is... preventing new clean water from getting into the pit where possible... "cleaning" water coming from the pit enough to mix it with the water of of the river... and then dumping the concentrated sludge back into the pit? Because currently there is no other option?

Surely you jest.


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 15 July 2008 at 12:26 pm

girlyengineer,
I am pleased there exists those minds of higher learning in the area. That is not the solution, academia?? The solution lies in the minds of men of action, not the "intellectuals". Like the lawyers, the intellectuals waffle and drive up the cost when it comes time to simply grabbing a hammer to nail the nail in... I do believe if thought, beauratic red tape and law suits were the solution, the pit would be clear as glass with tons of ten pound Walleye begging to be caught. As I stated before, law suits and lectures arent going to cut it. Another writer correctly wrote men of action rarely move unless money is placed in their hands. So read very carefully boys and girls, take the money out of the lecture grandstands and lawyers offices and put it to use in the hands of people that can make a difference to the pit itself, not the perceptions, ruling or clarifications. A grant to fix it is far more useful to Butte than grants to study it. Everyone is going on about these extremophiles which all well and good. It is fastinating "new life" can spring from our sludge. Many have been quick to comment on the benefits of these new critters, how about the fact these guys sprung up in an environment so hostile our traditional organisms could not function...what impact would these organisms have to our detriment??? Should we be dissappointed when argueably "mutations" are put to rest as our trucks fill in or bring materials to counteract this altered state?? Just beware, new is exciting true, but it is also unknown.
This also touches upon the stupidity we as humans have when choosing sites for cities...example Phoenix, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Tuscon, LA and all the othe fault line cities.
Perhaps Butte is one of these when it come to water... I still recommend the bottled water, 7/4/2008 independence vintage from Wal Mart, it was a good week :)


sense
Posted 16 July 2008 at 01:41 am

two cents from girth. you are a fucking idiot.


sd9sd
Posted 16 July 2008 at 02:48 am

Two Cents from Girth
Posted 16 July 2008 at 02:55 am

sense...
Compared to whom? you?
Sorry, paused for laughing break, oh thanks, I havent had a good laugh in awhile.

Again sorry if you didnt like my assertion that academics are mostly all talk in cases like the Berkley Pits...but my prediction, not hindsight, is that the solution will be with a shovel, not a oratory and field study. I would also assume after twenty plus years of debating, lobbying and court cases about the pit is enough and some action is over due. I imagine many towns people suffer because of the pit and pollutants, another debate wont help them, a few hundred dump trucks, loaders and filling crews would. On a side note, perhaps a railroad spur to the pit would ease some of the transportation of material to the site. Yes, this would need leadership personel with advanced degrees and of course someone to watch the monies...
Sorry sense, I cant be an idiot right now, I have too many thoughts and things to do, try back in 20 or so years, I may then have the time to misplace my overactive mind. Oh, by the way, really like your contribution to the forum, choice word selection. With comments like that I am confident I could easily overcome your intelectual level before I reached the shower, seconds after the morning alarm goes off. Pretty sure any other forum would be a snap too, face to face you wouldnt have the fuzzies :) You may want some time in the mirror to sort your things out or just take a minute to unwind, it is an internet discussion after all...a bit of perspective.


Andy Roid
Posted 16 July 2008 at 05:31 am

Radiatidon said: "My water does show signs of fresh-water shrimp, which means we have tapped either an underground lake or slow moving water source. Really not into drinking Sea Monkeys you know."

What "signs" of shimp have you seen?
I ask because I think it highly unlikely to find shrimp living in groundwater. Most early stages of shrimps require microalgae to graze on.
No light = No microalgae
Maybe you have a hydrothermal vent somewhere down there!
Also, you do a lot of tests to your water. What do you use it for? I farm fish with groundwater and we don't do anywhere near that much testing, (we probably should as our farm is next to an old rubbish dump)!


Radiatidon
Posted 16 July 2008 at 06:31 am

Andy Roid said: "What "signs" of shimp have you seen?
I ask because I think it highly unlikely to find shrimp living in groundwater. Most early stages of shrimps require microalgae to graze on.
No light = No microalgae

Coming off of our wellhead I have a general mesh filter. Just to catch larger debris such as sand. This helps keep the main, and more expensive filters before my pressure tank cleaner. About once a week I pull the screen and basically tap it to loosen collected sand there. I will inspect the screen to see what type of interesting stuff that has come up from the nether regions of the earth. Occasionally I find pieces and almost whole bodies of white, almost clear shrimp. The largest I ever found was almost complete and slightly larger than a sharpened #2 pencil lead. They look something similar to the brine shrimp sold as “Sea Monkeys” to children.

The source of these critters cannot be surface water as to the purity of my well water. Also since I reside in a high altitude desert region, there are not any nearby lakes that have shrimp living in them.

Andy Roid said: "Maybe you have a hydrothermal vent somewhere down there!

That might be a slim possibility, but not near my source since my water runs around 57 degrees Fahrenheit year round. I do know of two homes on some nearby foothills that are around 300’ to 500’ apart. Between the homes is a slight knoll of lava. The home to the North has well water that measures in at 62 degrees Fahrenheit while the home to the South has well water at 116 degrees Fahrenheit. The foothills are composed of an old basaltic lava flow.

Andy Roid said: "Also, you do a lot of tests to your water.

I test my water for pesticides because of surrounding farms – nitrates, coliform, & growth hormones due to dairys in the area. I also raise various animals on my ranch, and since the buggers just go wherever they are standing, they load the soil full of foul nitrates. Since we get a good influx of water each spring and each fall, this creates a possibility of animal doo moving into the water table.

Since there is lots of farm equipment and the nature of the local soil I test for iron, arsenic, chloride, and sulfur. Due to water’s ability to destroy plumbing and its effect on home appliances I test for proper pH.

High levels of TDS will tell me if there is a major disturbance in my water source. This could also warn me of a drastic shift in the quality of my drinkable water. Not to mention high levels of TDS will fill the sand traps and plug filters faster.

Since my wells are the major source of water most of the year, it is in my best interest to be responsible for the quality and purity of the water.

The Don.


avolosin
Posted 16 July 2008 at 03:09 pm

Two Cents from Girth said: "girlyengineer,

I am pleased there exists those minds of higher learning in the area. That is not the solution, academia?? The solution lies in the minds of men of action, not the "intellectuals".

I think perhaps you should read about many of the disasters created by men of action with their hammers of solution with complete ignorance or disregard to those inconveniencing intellectuals and their all-too-time-consuming scientific method. Many of them are here on DI (Leaded gasoline comes to mind). Many other examples would include the invasive species (intentional or not) plaguing different environments where a person of action observed they were irritated by a certain species and decided to eradicate it with another species without any investigations or prior methodical experimentation.


Like the lawyers, the intellectuals waffle and drive up the cost when it comes time to simply grabbing a hammer to nail the nail in… I do believe if thought, beauratic red tape and law suits were the solution, the pit would be clear as glass with tons of ten pound Walleye begging to be caught. As I stated before, law suits and lectures arent going to cut it. Another writer correctly wrote men of action rarely move unless money is placed in their hands. So read very carefully boys and girls, take the money out of the lecture grandstands and lawyers offices and put it to use in the hands of people that can make a difference to the pit itself, not the perceptions, ruling or clarifications.

You are all too correct about where the money should not be (in the lawyers hands), but the reason the lawyers are there is to determine where this money is supposed to come from. The government? The mining company? The people of Montana? Unless I am mistaken, the mining company was incorporated before the legislation that required a mine to clean-up after itself.

A grant to fix it is far more useful to Butte than grants to study it.

It should be noted that all of the observation going on at the Butte is for monitoring purposes to assure that the pit complies with an EPA standard and prevent it from reaching a "critical" point. And believing that there is some sort of magical plan that will "fix it" as though you suggest with a hammer and nails is extremely short sighted. With many, many people more intelligent than you or I working on this problem, we must envision a very difficult problem indeed that could perhaps be represented by these theoretical values:

Clean up the site by dumping lye in and precipitating out the acidic metals : 3 billion dollars
Clean up the site by pumping out the water into evaporating beds to precipitate out metal salts: 1 billion dollars and 100 years
Maintaining site to EPA requirements: $200,000/year, forever.

I would imagine that it is many magnitudes more tantalizing for any funding body to simply maintain non-critical level than to invest a vast sum for a solution that may or may not be more detrimental than the pit itself (its kind of hard to tell without those pesky intellectuals!)

Everyone is going on about these extremophiles which all well and good. It is fastinating "new life" can spring from our sludge. Many have been quick to comment on the benefits of these new critters, how about the fact these guys sprung up in an environment so hostile our traditional organisms could not function…what impact would these organisms have to our detriment??? Should we be dissappointed when argueably "mutations" are put to rest as our trucks fill in or bring materials to counteract this altered state?? Just beware, new is exciting true, but it is also unknown.

The protazoan, Euglena mutabilis, found at the site did not appear there ex nihilo, nor is it exclusive to the pit.

This also touches upon the stupidity we as humans have when choosing sites for cities…example Phoenix, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Tuscon, LA and all the othe fault line cities.

Perhaps Butte is one of these when it come to water… I still recommend the bottled water, 7/4/2008 independence vintage from Wal Mart, it was a good week :)"

The argument for stupidity in city sites could be made for any city that constantly gets leveled by tornadoes/hurricanes, mudslides, floods, earthquakes, fires, volcanoes. This would essentially include every place ever in the history of mankind. And finally I would warn you about the plasticizers in your polycarbonate water bottles, but most of the information about that comes from intellectuals and not the men of action who bottle the water :)


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 16 July 2008 at 05:15 pm

Oh many good points from comment #67!
It is true men of action have had their blunders but you and I have incorrectly assumed that these men cant be both intellectual and action oriented, that is my fault for making a black or white stance.
You know as well as I, there exist many an academic that has written many books but has never really lifted a finger in the field... we also know know there are men of action that for all intensive purposed are endowed with no brain activity; cut me some slack, I've seen, lived and experienced the halls of academia and most it is theory, not practice, I have also live, worked along side the lower working class. I am not saying either is wrong, just saying "awareness and lecture" after twenty five years is no solution...action is and the monies should be funneled toward active solutions instead of analysis. Again, think, 25 years of study, a small treatment plant to try to stabilize the pit...seems a bit lopsided?
Each group has its place and I think it is time to make with the shovels instead of the paperwork... I tend to get impatient when 25 years lapse and the funding and lawsuits persist costing how much exactly??? Honestly, where does that lead?
This is not about inconvience of thought geared institutions or eradication of species, spare me the Ferngully routine, it is about repair...true, a lecture or a study can work to prevent, but does nothing to repair; that takes hands on practice, too simple a construct to grasp? It is not a shot to the intellectual community, it is a shot at the muddling beauractic quagmires of our system! Of course as I said in comment #64 about guided action, "Yes, this would need leadership personel with advanced degrees and of course someone to watch the monies…" please do try to weigh all the information at hand before coming to a decision lest your arguement suffers; every good intellectual understands that practice. :)

Ok 3 billion for a total cure, I would agree that is costly...$200,000 for maintenance preventing it from going critical, sure. There is alot of ground between 3 billion and 200k and that is where action can be implimented. How much of the Pits budget is taken up in paper shuffling, how many careers are solidified by beauracratic inaction or token maintenance?
I think we have alot of common ground here and can see where active improvement is probable. Improvements can be made and action can be taken, even if it is small and apparently inconsequencial and over time the damage can be reduced, perhaps negated.
A couple nice shots in favor of the intellectuals in your comment, those were good! You seem to think I am one and or not the other, simply not true. There is a time for the one and a time for the other, I think this pit has had about enough of the intellectual side and could use a little more guided "nail driving"action. In twenty five years, the best that can be done is make sure it doesnt go critical?? Really? The pit has managed to styme both tought and action...???
On to the next topic:
As to the stupity of city locations...
As you know, approx. 2,000 years ago, Pompeii was leveled by Vesuvius...not a good place for a city, indeed. You also know another sprung up literally from the ashes. Did you also know yet another city was destroyed approx. 2,0000 years before Pompeii, leveled by Vesuvius? It has been 2,000 years since Pompeii, where in Italy would you build? Are we then ablidged to act shocked when/if this happens again?
Of course there is risk where ever you live, but why at the foot of a volcano or on a fault or in a dessert or beneath levys in a flood plain? We are talking risk and chances here would you agree, it is not if, but when and how bad for some of these places? So why all the surprise and shock when the enivedable happens??
A few years without snow in the Rockies in and near Colorado, which is possible, would lead to shortages in cities and farms all throughout the SW... Where has some of our fastest growing cities been located in the past 20 years? Las Vegas? Phoenix? The water table between Tuscon and Phoneix has dropped 10's of feet, when do people wake and get laws passed saying only acertain number of people can live here? Hey, as far as a solution goes, how about an interconecting system of pipelines/canals between rivers to balance an redistribute water across the nation, now that is infrastructure!!
Intellectuals will certainly realize an area can only support so many... an ecologist gets that, a historian, a meteroligist, an archeologist, sociologist on and on... so lets get this straight, we first need the big disaster which at least five reputable fields understand before hand and would be willing to write it down and submit the findings to lawmakers? All the while nothing happens until after? Got to like this mentality...


Andy Roid
Posted 17 July 2008 at 03:47 am

Radiatidon said: "Occasionally I find pieces and almost whole bodies of white, almost clear shrimp. The largest I ever found was almost complete and slightly larger than a sharpened #2 pencil lead. They look something similar to the brine shrimp sold as “Sea Monkeys” to children. "

Sorry for continuing on this off topic tangent, but I find this damn interesting!
Brine shrimp can lay cysts which once dried out, can survive many many years. They are also very light and can be transported great distances by winds. Once conditions become favourable ie: wet, the cysts will hatch into Artemia nauplii (baby brine shrimp). Is it possible for cysts to be blown down into the bore? or is it sealed at the top by the wellhead?

Artemia naups are very small and only have 2 swimming legs, whereas adults have lots of legs down the length of thier body. The first stage does not require any food as they feed off thier yolk reserve but to develop further, they must graze on microalgae. How many legs did these critters have?

Furthermore, you mentioned that they were clear/white. Healthy shrimp are clear and dead ones are white.... BUT ground water is notorious for having low levels of dissolved oxygen. Artemia grown in such conditions compensate by pumping out massive amounts of heamaglobin in thier heamolymph (blood like goo). This makes them appear as a red/brown colour.

If this doesn't sound like what you have found, take the next one you find to your nearest university. You might have found a new species! I'll go you halves in the naming rights!!!
maybe.... the "Artemia Donroidious"?


Radiatidon
Posted 17 July 2008 at 06:58 am

Andy Roid said: "Sorry for continuing on this off topic tangent, but I find this damn interesting!
You might have found a new species! I'll go you halves in the naming rights!!!"

Made a call and took a sample in to have it identified. Okay, it seems that this is a fairly new species of Fairy Shrimp in which there are only 300 known species in the world. Discovered in 1996, it was not until 2005 that they determined that these are an unknown subgroup of the Fairy Shrimp. Though these buggers are related to the Sea-Monkey brine shrimp, they can grow to enormous proportions. So far the largest discovered is around three inches, brine shrimp grow to only around a ½ inch or so.

This new species is extremely hardy as they live in a desert environment. The cysts (egg like) survive the extreme summer heat and freezing sub-zero winter chill for years until a bonus rainfall that creates pools. Then the buggers have an orgy of mating and feasting until the water evaporates and/or they perish from all that mating. Leaving behind a large number of cysts that will survive until the next bountiful deluge. The conditions in the pool must be a certain way since they are not found in every rain pool tested.

This species is very predatory and cannibalistic. They survive by eating their own. Even though fairy shrimp are very similar in appearance to the layman, it takes an expert to tell them apart, this fella is extremely different than any of the others.

To begin with, the front legs sport several spines, and then each spine is covered in several smaller spines. Think of a samurai sword covered with porcupine quills. All the better to impale and hold onto prey. Next there is a series of spines along the belly looking like a manicured lawn, which acts like Velcro to hold the prey. This allows it to capture and store up to four smaller shrimp when food is scarce. They also have a unique tail unlike any other as it is extremely long and tapers down to a forked end. The males are the macho shrimp of the fairy shrimp species as they are well endowed with longer antennas.

These animals swim upside down (so do the other fairy shrimp) and if their antenna or tails encounter a smaller shrimp they go for it. Grabbing the hapless critter, they bite it rendering the prey less active, but not to kill it. Then it is placed on the belly and velcroed into place by the tiny spines there. When another victim is acquired, the first is moved further down allowing room for the second. This occurs again and again until a total of four smaller shrimp is captured. Should food become scarce, the fairy shrimp just reaches into its pantry and takes out a still living snack.

The university is interested in how the little tidbits managed to infiltrate my well and why since the water is cooler than they like and cleaner. My well is a closed system and the well water tests differently from the surface water so no cross contamination.

Oh, and as far as good eating, not much there, as they are mostly legs and antenna. I was told that you could eat the bigger ones. Guess its time to fire up the barby, eh Mate? Just kidding as these are protected.

The Don.


avolosin
Posted 17 July 2008 at 10:53 am

Two Cents from Girth, I too, believe we have much common ground in our arguments and I appologize for casting you as an "anti-intellectual" but you must understand that that was the obvious conclusion based on the tone and argument structure of your preceding posts. I feel that you reiterated many of your past points with disregard to much of what I have said, as well as introduce a new one that I find puzzling.

I am... just saying "awareness and lecture" after twenty five years is no solution…action is and the monies should be funneled toward active solutions instead of analysis.

I agree entirely, but the problem with this specific case is a combination of what you and I have both said previously. Men of action are motivated by money and the pit is tied up in bureaucracy. No action can be taken unless the lawyers and courts decide who is responsible, and determine where the money must come from. So the only singular course of action to take, until that preeminent requirement is fulfilled, is to monitor and maintain. Now of course we must not confuse this 25 years of study with the reason the pit is still there. The studying of the pit is not why the pit is still there and not being cleaned up. The reason is because of law determination and there still does not exist a feasible solution. Its not a simple volume problem that translates to: "We have lots of water, we need lots of buckets."

In twenty five years, the best that can be done is make sure it doesnt go critical?? Really? The pit has managed to styme both tought and action…???

Unfortunately, yes.

The website provided by girlyengineer is actually very informative and indicative to the size and complexity of the problem that the pit poses. The sad thing of course, is that this is not the only open pit mine with a rising contaminated water problem; there are many, many more throughout the world.

Lastly, I'm not entirely sure of your point of the succeeding paragraph:

Intellectuals will certainly realize an area can only support so many… an ecologist gets that, a historian, a meteroligist, an archeologist, sociologist on and on… so lets get this straight, we first need the big disaster which at least five reputable fields understand before hand and would be willing to write it down and submit the findings to lawmakers? All the while nothing happens until after? Got to like this mentality…

Does that mean prior study of city sites is bad? Because what has happened in the past has been cities being built with next to no prior observation which has led us to our current situation.


Andy Roid
Posted 17 July 2008 at 12:18 pm

Radiatidon said: "Oh, and as far as good eating, not much there, as they are mostly legs and antenna. "

I like the crunchy bits!
Awesome sounding critter you have there. Interesting how it seems to have evolved to feed on its own kind. Some serious natural selection going on in that population!


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 17 July 2008 at 12:37 pm

avolosin,
There is clarity in your last comment.
As you stated, I am referring to to the legalisms slowing the actual process down...
The key is the ammount of time, 25 years, obviously a conclusion could have been reached and I am guessing has, several times; enter the appeals. Do you think the lawyers from either side want a resolution? No...then they would need to find a new cash cow inwhich to feed upon. So, some of my frustration with the "intellectuals" is the fact that they can do nothing and profit while the side of "action" requires tangible results. I understand and appreciate the tought and effort of the lawyer, but they have not really shown any tangible results... This is like our Congress, it is more profitable for them on some issues to simply do nothing or tie it up in secession. When those in the field of action do that, most cases they are replaced and new directives established. Same scenario as a CEO or other prominante officer of a corporation being in the leadership role as the corp. dies financially. Then they grab their bonues and profits from shorted stock options and move on to the next multi-million dollar venture. Last I looked, when the ship was going down, luggage was not allowed on the life raft. A few versions of my frustration...with the "enlightened" sectors.
As far as the last item you quoted:
I was basically listing a few of the professions that would be knowledgable about where cities might be best placed and their capacities when considering an areas ability to support a population. Obviously, I omittted some of the fields such as engineering and geology as they are already heavily relied on. We see the potential for great disaster in several areas of our country, yet we keep building or moving to these regions...???? LA, Seattle, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Phoneix and Tuscon to again name a few. I am not saying these may be wonderful places, just stating they are much riskier places to dwell.
As a historian, I am surprised at how easily we just stick to the original locations of cities and expand on them year after year a point which you hit upon in your comment. (A random tangent kind of relating to city locations: Ever wonder why NY has such a heavy banking reputation? We didnt estabish that, it was already in NY when we took it over from the Dutch) A few have deviated from that path , like Stalins projects on the Trans Siberian railroad "corridor" and some of the work China is doing now to modernize their western region.


avolosin
Posted 17 July 2008 at 12:48 pm

I would say another governmental parallel would be some of the bureaus and groups created by the government to oversee long defunct purposes or goals that were achieved long ago, but they manage to persevere for no other reasons than getting a paycheck for traditional reasons.

I do wonder how much more at risk the cataclysmic drought regions of Phoenix, Tucson, and LV have in comparison to Midwest areas that are prone to floods and tornadoes. Would it simply be the magnitudes in comparison to the frequency of the events? i.e. would it be more risky to live in an area with high frequency, low magnitude damage (perhaps in the case of one subdivision getting leveled in kansas by a tornado) or low frequency, high magnitude (in your example of disasterous drought of the southwest that would affect more than a single subdivison)?


DumbMe
Posted 18 July 2008 at 04:57 pm

Late to the party, I guess, but I'll ask this anyway.

According to the article, "Through photosynthesis, [Euglena mutabilis] increases the oxygen level in the water, which causes dissolved metals to oxidize and precipitate out."

If this is true, then wouldn't a fairly simple solution be to treat the water by pumping massive amounts of oxygen into it?


Two Cents from Girth
Posted 18 July 2008 at 09:35 pm

Avolosin,
A good point about h.f., l.m. disasters. Having lived north of Houston Tx. a few years ago.
I was amazed at how often houses in the flood plains were being damaged. The freedom to
live where we want and pursue our careers/happiness is great! Now, I think people should
be responsible for their choices. I heard of sub divisions that have been flooded nine times in twenty years... terrible, risky, expensive and unnecessary... I think the insurance company after assessing the damage and observing a pattern, buy the house out by cutting check and mark the house unisurable for all companies, allowing the owners to be accountable for their choice. It was a person living in oh about a rough looking 100k two story home. The lower level was thrashed and the upper level had its own enterance and was great!. This owner, over a +-18 year period had claimed 7 times and recieved damages for over $600,000, yes, over a half million for a 20+ year old house. He was furious when the insurance company dropped him... Many insurance companies now refuse flood insurance within flood plain areas saying it is not if but when , how bad and how often...not worth it. Lesson here is be mindful where you purchase and be ready to abide by the results... Some common sense here folks.
This is where engineers can really make a difference, but some developers would not want to risk the results prior to completion, so the all important investment is not jeopardized.
As far as risk goes, that is a perplexing construct which I really dont have an anwser which sumises the risk levels between natural disaters.


avolosin
Posted 23 July 2008 at 11:30 am

DumbMe said: "Late to the party, I guess, but I'll ask this anyway.

According to the article, "Through photosynthesis, [Euglena mutabilis] increases the oxygen level in the water, which causes dissolved metals to oxidize and precipitate out."

If this is true, then wouldn't a fairly simple solution be to treat the water by pumping massive amounts of oxygen into it?"

I believe this would be a possible solution that is inhibited based on the solubility of oxygen in water.

There's a handy table here:
http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/oxygen-solubility-water-d_841.html

The table is for fresh water, which the pit is not, so we can safely assume that due to the quantity of solvated ions, the oxygen solubility would be even less than the ~12mg/L listed.

I would guess that the process of cleaning the pit by increasing oxygen content would probably take a very long time (a billion years?) based on thermodynamic arguments.


Anthropositor
Posted 25 July 2008 at 11:28 pm

Real purty graff. And them fancy numbers on that one underneath... I just know those figures are going to light a fire under us and point us directly at a solution.

But I have to break down the graph in some simpler terms that might have some actual bearing on this problem. What I mean to say is, we are not dealing with clear water. We are not dealing with saline water. This body of fluid is so replete with such a vast array of contaminants that it is really stretching meaning to the breaking point to call it water.

But let us say for the sake of argument that this particular liquid has an oxygen solubility in the same ballpark as relatively pure or saline water, somewhere between 6 and 10 parts per 1000 at typical ambient temperatures.

We know that whatever the oxygen level, it is not enough to clear the water or some of those battalions of experts would already have a graph showing the evolution of the contaminants in suspension and in solution.

I still think that some form of electroplating will be useful for plating out certain of the conductive pollutants. But certainly oxygenation is also worth a look.

The problem is, just sinking some sort of gigantic aquarium bubbler and pumping through it gaseous O2 is not likely to do a lot of good because bubbles rise quickly up through the water and into the air, having only small effect on the pollutants.

Now, what if, instead of bubbling oxygen gas, we got the oxygen into the water in another form? Let's imagine, for example, adding a volume of 35% H2O2. There would still be the evolution of bubbles. But these bubbles are quite different from the others. These are bubbles of and from violent chemical reaction. And the icing on the cake? In the process of oxidizing and precipitating out some elements or neutralizing some other chemicals, the H2O2 just becomes water. In essence, it is a highly oxidative chemical which just sort of disposes of itself while it is cleaning up. Scrub-a-dub.


etonalife
Posted 28 July 2008 at 10:44 pm

There is a boom going on in deep off-shore oil drilling. Many rig companies are in the process of building more of these rigs to be shipped to foreign coasts (NOTE: this has nothing to do with the shallow water politically driven drilling agenda off our coasts currently, please do not comment on that part). Although these rigs are dearly expensive to operate, it may be worthwhile to look into drilling below the lake.

The existence of fractures and caverns well below the surface may appear and provide a source of an outlet for this water. It would be increasingly unlikely with depth for those fractures to pump the toxic water straight into another usable groundwater resource. And the passage of the water through any more porous material below the current depths of the mine would certainly clean it up a bit. With the available technologies, it is really pretty easy to prevent any sort of blocked pressure system from exploding out the bottom and inundating the town.

But really I think they should make super-extremophiles in labs and throw them in the lake.

Nature always finds a way to balance out, we just have to hope it includes our survival. But as we are indifferent about things that don't knowingly affect us, so nature is indifferent about our success. There's no sense in becoming hypocritical about that.


avolosin
Posted 30 July 2008 at 11:30 am

Anthropositor said: "Real purty graff. And them fancy numbers on that one underneath… I just know those figures are going to light a fire under us and point us directly at a solution.

I was actually using the table below the graph from that website

But I have to break down the graph in some simpler terms that might have some actual bearing on this problem. What I mean to say is, we are not dealing with clear water. We are not dealing with saline water. This body of fluid is so replete with such a vast array of contaminants that it is really stretching meaning to the breaking point to call it water.

See second to last sentence of #77. Even with the quantity of contaminants, the volume of the lake is still 99.9% water and would be ~5 times clearer than many lakes.

I still think that some form of electroplating will be useful for plating out certain of the conductive pollutants. But certainly oxygenation is also worth a look.

You will still have to replace the pollutants in the water with other cations created by oxidation at the anode. Most of these cations produced are generally the pollutants you are trying to get rid of.

Now, what if, instead of bubbling oxygen gas, we got the oxygen into the water in another form? Let's imagine, for example, adding a volume of 35% H2O2. There would still be the evolution of bubbles. But these bubbles are quite different from the others. These are bubbles of and from violent chemical reaction. And the icing on the cake? In the process of oxidizing and precipitating out some elements or neutralizing some other chemicals, the H2O2 just becomes water. In essence, it is a highly oxidative chemical which just sort of disposes of itself while it is cleaning up. Scrub-a-dub."

This is just a more expensive version of the lye addition. I did some quick, back-of-the-envelope calculations for the cost of removing just zinc (540mg/L, the conservative value). It is enticing that it would only take about 1oz of 35% H2O2 to "clean" 10 gallons of pit water of zinc. But it again becomes a problem of volumes. When you multiply this by the 37 billion gallons in the pit, and the fact that food grade 35% H2O2 is $50/gal (cheaper than the $180/gal lab grade), it would cost about $1.3 Billion just to remove zinc.

The other unfortunate fact is that simply oxidizing the pollutants does not ensure their precipitation out of solution. There are several oxides of arsenic that are well soluble in water.


Clondyke
Posted 30 July 2008 at 11:36 am

@ The Don
1 Janschwalde in Germany with 27.4 million tons.
2 Belhatov in Poland with 25.5 million tons.
3 Drax in the UK with 23.7 million tons.

Mmmhh...reading this source: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kraftwerk_J%C3%A4nschwalde
it is on #7 on the worldwide list and #3 in the European Union.
However, interesting article - and one more place on the map to leave out. ;-)


argosinfotech
Posted 03 August 2008 at 09:50 am

woooooooooooo
very horrible, anybody check where this hole goes to???


Anthropositor
Posted 06 August 2008 at 08:51 pm

#80,
I was brainstorming possibilities in the remarks you quoted. Things to kick around as idea starters. I got my education after seventh grade in libraries and used book stores almost entirely. I do not hold mathematicians in general in high esteem because I notice that they often prefer to sprinkle the conversation with arcane symbols, statistics and trappings that tend to impress and to exclude the great bulk of even this rather better than average internet readership. I have coined my own word for it. I call it Greenspanning in honor of the man who perfected the art of being able to put absolutely everything he said in reporting to Congress in such convoluted and meandering phraseology that the talking heads and pundits could kick around what he said and still come to no consensus as to what he really said. A great many academics do this same thing.

I was once the Production Manager in a small aerospace instrumentation firm with a Chief Engineer whose only claim to fame as far as I could tell, was his ability to make everything he was involved with seem much more complex than it was. I once went to chat with him about a specialized valve that I was brainstorming, and it was about the only time I ever heard a brief and uncomplicated remark from him. He said dismissively "Won't work." I waited. Nothing. Finally I said, "Why?" He said, "Somebody would have thought of it already." ...meaning of course that some qualified engineer would have thought of it Not what particular feature was in error. Not where my physics had a hole in it. Then I went and built one. It worked. Then I tossed it in the trash, for three reasons. One: there would not be a market for it in any quantity for a long time. Two:It would have been useful in space, but it was of no value terrestrially that I could think of. And three: It would not have been at all politic for me to prove the engineer wrong. I would have been put into an untenable position. I had bigger things to worry about. Texas Instruments had been working on a hostile takeover and they looked likely to succeed.

But back to the point here. How much of the readership here do you expect would get much meaning out of the link you provided? Or would know that the math symbol ~ means approximately? Not very many I expect. They would just be a little mystified and impressed. Seems like just a little taste of Greenspanning to me.

May I ask sir, do you have some sort of concrete notion how this problem might be addressed? If so, can it be put in straightforward language accessible to the uninitiated?

And as to your point that the water was 99.9% pure and that we have more polluted lakes... Would you drink a single liter of that water? Such pristine water! Only one thousanth something else. What if it was pure but for one millionth Dioxin or a trillionth Plutonium?

And is it an accurate assessment of the facts to say that the commercial price of 35% H2O2 is $50 a gallon. and then use that figure to work out the costs of treatment of the pit? Would there be no economies of scale by the tankerful? And with regard to the cheaper lye -- would we not then have to deal with the sodium the lye added to the 99.9% pure pristine water? I think I'll go over to the Mars thread and see if it is my move.


avolosin
Posted 07 August 2008 at 02:23 pm

Anthropositor said: "#80,

I was brainstorming possibilities in the remarks you quoted. Things to kick around as idea starters. I got my education after seventh grade in libraries and used book stores almost entirely. I do not hold mathematicians in general in high esteem because I notice that they often prefer to sprinkle the conversation with arcane symbols, statistics and trappings that tend to impress and to exclude the great bulk of even this rather better than average internet readership. I have coined my own word for it. I call it Greenspanning in honor of the man who perfected the art of being able to put absolutely everything he said in reporting to Congress in such convoluted and meandering phraseology that the talking heads and pundits could kick around what he said and still come to no consensus as to what he really said. A great many academics do this same thing.

First off, I'd like to apologize for coming off as such a Negative Nellie when it comes to the ideas proposed as solutions to this problem. But in my own defense, I was addressing direct inquiry as to whether or not a simple solution would be to increase oxygen content in the water. And while I have not coined a term for it, I too hold an analogous disdain for those that distill very complex issues into singular points, and then re-expand those points incorrectly because they are taken out of context.

But back to the point here. How much of the readership here do you expect would get much meaning out of the link you provided? Or would know that the math symbol ~ means approximately? Not very many I expect. They would just be a little mystified and impressed. Seems like just a little taste of Greenspanning to me.

I was merely citing a source of my numerical value. It is in fact 100% unnecessary to click on the link, as I state the useful data in the post; it was merely for the benefit of those interested. And I wasn't particularly aware that "~" is considered a math symbol. I was using it more as an internet shorthand.

May I ask sir, do you have some sort of concrete notion how this problem might be addressed? If so, can it be put in straightforward language accessible to the uninitiated?

No, I don't have the know-how to address a problem this complex.

And as to your point that the water was 99.9% pure and that we have more polluted lakes… Would you drink a single liter of that water? Such pristine water! Only one thousanth something else. What if it was pure but for one millionth Dioxin or a trillionth Plutonium?

I did not say we had more polluted lakes. I said the pit water was clearer. Water clarity is based on the cloudiness of the water. In many lakes this is caused by plant and animal life. The purpose of the statement was to steer readers away from believing that this pit water is sloppy goop that can be considered as not being water. And while not an important point of contention, I could not resist refuting the suggestion that it could no longer be considered water.

As for your questions regarding drinking water with dioxin and plutonium, you'd be surprised as to what you actually do drink. In every bit of water you drink there are small amounts (I'll refrain from Greenspanning those pesky values that might provide some sort of perspective) of Uranium, Cadmium, Arsenic, Mercury, estrogen, plasticizers, anti-depressants and every contaminant present in the mining pit as well. While the water you drink is no where near as contaminated with metals as the pit water, the values you mention are underestimations of the true concentrations of many of the materials I have listed.

And is it an accurate assessment of the facts to say that the commercial price of 35% H2O2 is $50 a gallon. and then use that figure to work out the costs of treatment of the pit? Would there be no economies of scale by the tankerful?

You are correct to point out my neglect of economics of scale. But, under the assumption that this would apply to both lye and hydrogen peroxide, the determining factor for cost could safely be assumed to be the unit price. You can pick whatever price you think you could get for the hydrogen peroxide (keep in mind ~9lbs/gal for shipping purposes) and crunch the numbers yourself and then keep in mind that this is just for zinc.

And with regard to the cheaper lye — would we not then have to deal with the sodium the lye added to the 99.9% pure pristine water? I think I'll go over to the Mars thread and see if it is my move."

Now you've got the idea! In much the same way that adding tons of lye to precipitate out pollutants doesn't address several key points, adding tons of hydrogen peroxide doesn't either. What we've done is gone from:

1. Remove contaminants by precipitation with lye. (This is bad because of the immense amount of sodium in the water, and the fact that not all pollutants are precipitated out.)

to

2. Remove contaminants by precipitation with H2O2. (This is better in that it fixes the sodium problem, but worse in the sense that it will still not precipitate out all pollutants and at higher cost)

This is the reason why the complexity of the problem must be undertaken all at once and why this complex problem remains.


Anthropositor
Posted 07 August 2008 at 09:00 pm

Perhaps I could accidentally get to like you Avolosin. The stiff necked portion of this communication is at an end. Peace be upon you and yours.


Photobones
Posted 11 August 2008 at 09:29 pm

It seems to me as a short term rather cheap solution you could set up a small centrifuge system that spins the metals out of the water... nothing big... something that just works slow and steady. Pump processed "clean" water back into the pond. Collect the metalic slurry and try to figure some good use for it. If no immediate solution comes to mind, bury it in New Jersey--they'll think it's normal..

Here's an idea. If the water has so much crap in it, it will undoubtedly be a great conductor of electricity. If this is the case and the water is as acidic as they say it is, then set up a windmill generator, hook it up to an electrolysis and compression station and capture the hydrogen for fuel cells. The less free radical hydrogen in the water, and the higher pH the less the ability of the pond to produce a volume of acids like HCl and H2SO4, etc. My chemistry probably leaves a little to be desired, but I bet something could be done in this vein to sort elemental wheat from molecular chaff.


avolosin
Posted 12 August 2008 at 09:49 am

Photobones said: "It seems to me as a short term rather cheap solution you could set up a small centrifuge system that spins the metals out of the water… nothing big… something that just works slow and steady.

The metals in solution are not atomic atoms of the metals, but solvated charged ions. This means that no matter how much centrifuging you do, you will never end up with a lump of, say, Zn2+ because it is impossible for charged ions to exist in the solid state without a counterbalancing negative ion.


Anthropositor
Posted 15 August 2008 at 09:39 pm

Not being argumentative here, but certainly a high speed centrifuge should be a part of the equation. I did not bring up the turbidity earlier, but certainly it is a part of the situation here. There is not the slightest question that centrifuging will reduce even ultra fine particulates, simplifying the remainder of the task. I'd say more, but I have a lot on my plate which I must address, and I really do not want to be percieved as starting a debate, particularly with two people who seem to be able to connect coherent thoughts together without the aid of scotch tape.

If I may though, Photo, I would suggest something far larger than what you have in mind. It is already state-of=the-art.
The centrifuge currently in use at Hyperian Waste Treatment Plant adjacent to El Segundo in the Los Angeles Basin, which recieves most of the sewage wastewater from the extended county area.

But for that centrifuge we are talking major bucks. For the volume here, I would be thinking maybe 1/10 scale. Then it would be easier to go after the ions.


BenKinsey
Posted 29 September 2008 at 09:47 am

Buttehole??? Am I the first to think of this immediately??


MortallyWounded
Posted 08 November 2008 at 07:22 am

BenKinsey said: "Buttehole??? Am I the first to think of this immediately??"

I wonder if the wind picks up enough to go windsurfing. Cue "Buttehole Surfers" music.

Another clear cut case of how even though humans can do a lot of damage to the earth, the earth has a way of fixing itself many times.


bloop1
Posted 26 January 2009 at 02:28 am

My mum made this pit, pure love juice


Mirage_GSM
Posted 28 May 2009 at 03:04 am

Radiatidon said: "...
Depending how one reads the list, various countries can be pushed to the top depending on type of pollutant based on population. For instance Australia is the world’s worst polluter per capita producing five times more carbon due to power generating than China, which holds the second spot according to CARMA. CARMA is a database that monitors carbon emissions of over 4,000 power companies and over 50,000 power plants worldwide.
Working off this same list, the worst polluting power plants are:
1 – Janschwalde in Germany with 27.4 million tons.
2 – Belhatov in Poland with 25.5 million tons.
3 – Drax in the UK with 23.7 million tons. ..."

Clondyke said: "Mmmhh…reading this source: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kraftwerk_J%C3%A4nschwalde
it is on #7 on the worldwide list and #3 in the European Union.
However, interesting article - and one more place on the map to leave out. ;-) ..."

I've visited the CARMA homepage and what they report are not pollution levels but Carbondioxide emissions. While CO2 is responsible for a good share of global warming, it is not a pollutant. So just because this plant emits large amounts of CO2 is no reason to avoid it. (I don't know what other stuff the plant emits, but we have quite strict emission caps for pollutants here in Germany, so I wouldn't be too worried.
Also, CARMA reports the absolute emissions not the efficiency. Apparently that particular plant has an efficiency level of 35,5% which seems to be a bit on the low side for coal power plants but it was built in the 60s, so that is to be expected.


Fuckette
Posted 04 January 2010 at 02:41 pm

It looks like no one has been on this article commenting in a while, but for those who may still be reading, you may be interested to read about some other super-polluted sites around the world.

http://www.blacksmithinstitute.org/wwpp2007/finalReport2007.pdf

Page 6 is where you'll find the summary, page 11 is where the detailed explainations start. Simply fascinating! Well, not just "simply" fascinating, I suppose - also horrifying. The kind of man-made messes described there make the Berkeley Pit look like kids' play. (Not that it lessens the danger for the fine folks of Montana.) Notably absent from the Top Ten of the Dirty Thirty linked above is a site I first learned of in depth right here on DI: Chelyabinsk, as linked below:

http://www.damninteresting.com/in-soviet-russia-lake-contaminates-you

If something that appallingly contaminated didn't make it on this list, just imagine how bad the pollution is at the sites that ARE included! Sorry to get all Kanye West there for a moment with my CAPS LOCK KEY!, but I just can't help myself sometimes...


Fuckette
Posted 04 January 2010 at 02:43 pm

PS. Radiatidon, you are my idol! We've had a slow day at work today so I've been catching up on my DI articles and their corresponding comments, and you are just wonderful. I just had to share. :)


Richard Solensky
Posted 06 January 2010 at 07:02 pm

Thanks for the article, Fuckette. It's amazing - and interesting - to see just how nice industries behave when there's no government looking over their shoulder, enforcing regulations on behalf of the citizenry.

And speaking of polluted places, you might want to look into the North Pacific Gyre. Also known as the World's Largest Accidental Garbage Dump. That one's going to be a real pain to clean up!


Richard Solensky
Posted 23 September 2010 at 04:50 pm

test

[a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/10046763@N02/3845273989/" title="Douglas_Mawson 1914"][img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2506/3845273989_d0c943ac9c.jpg" width="212" height="337" alt="Douglas_Mawson 1914" /][/a]


Richard Solensky
Posted 23 September 2010 at 04:51 pm

test 2
[img]http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2506/3845273989_d0c943ac9c.jpg[/img]


Richard Solensky
Posted 23 September 2010 at 04:51 pm

test 3
[image]http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2506/3845273989_d0c943ac9c.jpg[/image]


Richard Solensky
Posted 23 September 2010 at 04:52 pm

test 4

[url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/10046763@N02/3845273989/][img]http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2506/3845273989_d0c943ac9c.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/10046763@N02/3845273989/]Douglas_Mawson 1914[/url]


Richard Solensky
Posted 23 September 2010 at 04:53 pm

Richard Solensky
Posted 24 September 2010 at 04:44 pm

test 6


Richard Solensky
Posted 24 September 2010 at 04:47 pm

test 7

test


Richard Solensky
Posted 24 September 2010 at 04:49 pm

Looks like I can't add photos directly to a comment, so you'll just have to click on the links.


Richard Solensky
Posted 24 September 2010 at 05:02 pm

Douglas Mawson Goes for a Walk

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2506/3845273989_d0c943ac9c.jpg
Douglas Mawson, 1914

It’s always the explorers heading towards a definite goal that get all the glory.‭ ‬Or those who die heroically or tragically along the way.‭ ‬Having good press is also a big help.‭ ‬Those merely filling in the blank areas on the map or doing follow-up expeditions are often forgotten by history.‭ ‬Even though they are more likely to be the ones doing real science,‭ ‬in addition to laying the groundwork for further exploration,‭ ‬research,‭ ‬and discovery.‭ ‬When it comes to Polar exploration,‭ ‬there are certain names that have achieved the status of legend.‭ ‬John Franklin.‭ ‬Ernest Shackleton.‭ ‬Robert Scott.‭ ‬Robert Peary.‭ ‬Everyone else is relegated to footnote status,‭ ‬no matter how daring their exploits.

Australia’s Douglas Mawson is one of those forgotten explorers.‭ ‬When he launched the Australasian Antarctic Expedition‭ (‬AAE‭) ‬in‭ ‬1911,‭ ‬he already had two strikes against him.‭ ‬First,‭ ‬he wasn’t planning to head for the South Pole.‭ ‬Leaving Robert Scott and Roald Amundsen to race there,‭ ‬his intention was simply to spend a year filling in a‭ ‬2,000‭ ‬mile gap on maps of the Antarctic coast,‭ ‬with additional plans to chart the ocean between‭ ‬Australia and Antarctica and set up an observation station on‭ ‬Macquarie‭ ‬Island.‭ ‬The other factor in his obscurity was that his expedition was staffed almost entirely by men from‭ ‬Australia and‭ ‬New Zealand while the entire world was focused on‭ ‬Great Britain and the‭ ‬United States.

As far as dying heroically or tragically,‭ ‬Mawson and his team had no intention of doing either.‭ ‬His preparations were meticulous‭ – ‬he selected the best-trained men and dogs he could find,‭ ‬obtained all the latest gear,‭ ‬and made sure his team had‭ ‬plenty of supplies for their‭ ‬year on the‭ ‬frozen continent.‭ ‬But Fate has a way of throwing monkey wrenches into even the best-laid plans.‭ ‬Of the thirty-one men in the AAE,‭ ‬two would fall victim to‭ ‬Antarctica’s icy grip,‭ ‬and a third would avoid death only after an epic solitary journey.

Mawson wasn’t without experience in the Antarctic.‭ ‬A geologist and lecturer at‭ ‬the‭ ‬University of‭ ‬Adelaide,‭ ‬he was a member of Shackleton’s first expedition in‭ ‬1907,‭ ‬and was part of the team that made the first ascent of Mt Erebus.‭ ‬He was even offered a spot on Scott’s‭ ‬ill-fated‭ ‬Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole.‭ ‬He declined‭; ‬he had plans of his own.

The AAE was an ambitious undertaking.‭ ‬The men would set out on the‭ ‬S.Y.‭ ‬(Steam yacht‭)‬ Aurora and set up bases on‭ ‬Macquarie‭ ‬Island and the Antarctic coast.‭ ‬From there,‭ ‬teams would brave the hazards of the hostile climate and spend a year in unknown terrain exploring and collecting data.‭ ‬This would include weather information‭ ‬to help improve forecasting,‭ ‬studies of ocean currents‭ ‬to allow for safer navigation in the frozen waters,‭ ‬mineral specimens‭ ‬to evaluate any‭ ‬potential‭ ‬wealth locked under the ice,‭ ‬and observations of wildlife‭ ‬for clues to potential food sources.‭ ‬Finally,‭ ‬there were the thrills of being the first to venture into lands never before seen by man,‭ ‬and gaining knowledge for its own sake.

On‭ ‬2‭ ‬December‭ ‬1911,‭ ‬the‭ ‬Aurora left‭ ‬Hobart in‭ ‬Tasmania for‭ ‬Macquarie‭ ‬Island.‭ ‬Almost immediately,‭ ‬bad luck dogged the expedition.‭ ‬A storm blew up the first night,‭ ‬damaging a fresh water tank aboard the ship.‭ ‬With rationing,‭ ‬they arrived at‭ ‬Macquarie‭ ‬Island on‭ ‬11‭ ‬December.‭ ‬A hut was built to serve as a base for the five men who would survey the island,‭ ‬and they set up one of those newfangled‭ “‬radio‭” ‬contraptions so the widely separated parts of the expedition could keep in touch‭ ‬with each other and‭ ‬Australia.

Twelve days later,‭ ‬the‭ ‬Aurora left for‭ ‬Antarctica,‭ ‬arriving on‭ ‬7‭ ‬January,‭ ‬1912.‭ ‬The ship found a nice harbor filled with seals and penguins.‭ ‬Mawson named the spot‭ “‬Commonwealth‭ ‬Bay‭”‬,‭ ‬and chose it as the site for their main base.‭ ‬Bad luck again‭ – ‬he picked one of the windiest spots on the planet.‭ ‬By the end of the short summer,‭ ‬winds were often over‭ ‬100‭ ‬miles‭ ‬per hour,‭ ‬with gusts occasionally reaching‭ ‬200‭ ‬mph.‭ ‬Meanwhile,‭ ‬the‭ ‬Aurora had left to set up a second base some‭ ‬1500‭ ‬miles to the west,‭ ‬leaving Mawson and seventeen men to face the winter on their own.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2480/3846062896_cd1b81f3fc.jpg
The hut at Commonwealth Bay

The team did‭ ‬what they could in the brutal climate before winter set in,‭ ‬setting up a few storage caches for use by the next summer’s sledge teams.‭ ‬They also managed to set up their own radio aerial and get a message off to Macquarie Is.‭ ‬before the winds blew it down.‭ ‬Most of the winter saw them huddled in their hut,‭ ‬holding out against the howling winds.‭ ‬To keep themselves occupied when the weather made work impossible,‭ ‬they played games,‭ ‬held concerts,‭ ‬and devised other ways to entertain themselves.‭ ‬Teamwork was essential to their survival.‭ ‬Living in such cramped quarters fosters cooperation.‭ ‬If they weren’t good friends before,‭ ‬winter’s prison certainly made them so.

With the arrival of spring,‭ ‬the intrepid explorers emerged from their burrow and looked about.‭ ‬Everyone and everything had made it through in good condition,‭ ‬so Mawson set about planning the exploration parties.‭ ‬Five sledge teams of men and dogs would head out in different directions,‭ ‬filling in the blanks on the map as best they could before the return of the‭ ‬Aurora on‭ ‬15‭ ‬January‭ ‬1913

Mawson would take the longest one,‭ ‬accompanied by dog handlers Dr.‭ ‬Xavier Mertz and Belgrave Ninnis.‭ ‬Both men were among the few members of the expedition who joined the AAE in‭ ‬London,‭ ‬where the‭ ‬Aurora was being refit for the voyage.‭ ‬Mertz was a champion skier and an expert mountaineer,‭ ‬and although Ninnis,‭ ‬a lieutenant in the Royal Fusiliers,‭ ‬had no personal experience in the Antarctic,‭ ‬his father was a noted Arctic explorer.‭ ‬On‭ ‬10‭ ‬November they set out on the‭ “‬Far Eastern Trek‭”‬.‭ ‬They made reasonable progress,‭ ‬discarding spent supplies and damaged equipment along the way to lighten their load.‭ ‬The trek passed without incident until‭ ‬14‭ ‬December.‭ ‬Mertz,‭ ‬in the lead,‭ ‬signaled a warning.‭ ‬Mawson,‭ ‬coming up next,‭ ‬saw nothing out of the ordinary save a small change in the ice and snow.‭ ‬When Mertz cried out in horror,‭ ‬he stopped and turned around.‭ ‬Ninnis had vanished‭ ‬-‭ ‬along with a sledge,‭ ‬their six strongest dogs,‭ ‬their tent,‭ ‬and most of their supplies.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2585/3846063114_7935e26e1a.jpg
A partially uncovered crevasse. Photo by Jeremy Poole (used with permission)

They‭ ‬had‭ ‬fallen victim to one of the Antarctic’s many dangers.‭ ‬As ice sheets move over uneven terrain,‭ ‬they can crack and split,‭ ‬creating a‭ ‬crevasse.‭ ‬These crevasses can extend all the way to the bottom of the ice.‭ ‬If the prevailing winds blow across the open crevasse instead of along its length,‭ ‬they can drop snow along the edges which can build up into a‭ “‬bridge‭” ‬or‭ “‬roof‭”‬.‭ ‬The roof may look solid,‭ ‬but step on it with just a little too much weight,‭ ‬or even in just the wrong way at the wrong time,‭ ‬and it can break and send the traveler falling to his doom.

Creeping carefully up to the edge of the newly revealed crevasse,‭ ‬Mawson and Mertz looked in.‭ ‬All they could see were a scattering of supplies and two dogs‭ ‬-‭ ‬one badly injured,‭ ‬the other not moving at all‭ ‬-‭ ‬on a ledge some‭ ‬150‭ ‬feet down.‭ ‬Even‭ ‬after‭ ‬tying all their ropes together,‭ ‬they couldn’t reach that far.‭ ‬They called down for three hours,‭ ‬but there was no sign of Ninnis.‭ ‬They might have been able to climb down the sides of the crevasse,‭ ‬but there was no guarantee that they’d be able to make it back out.‭ ‬Reluctantly,‭ ‬they had to abandon the search and assess the few supplies they had left.

The tally was pitiful.‭ ‬They were‭ ‬315‭ ‬miles from their base,‭ ‬with only one sledge,‭ ‬a tent cover,‭ ‬a cooker with a little fuel,‭ ‬and ten days of food‭ ‬-‭ ‬and that was if they didn’t feed the six remaining dogs.‭ ‬Since they had planned to return from their trek by a different route,‭ ‬they did not leave any supply caches along the way.‭ ‬The only good news was that they had recently abandoned a damaged sledge,‭ ‬and it was within reach.‭ ‬They would need every piece of equipment‭ ‬they could get.‭ ‬Heading for that sledge,‭ ‬they began a grim procedure for survival.‭ ‬Whenever they became too weak from hunger,‭ ‬they would kill and eat the weakest dog in order to save their real rations for the bitter end.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3460/3846063070_b51d9a1c3e.jpg
A typical Antarctic landscape

The two headed back to‭ ‬Commonwealth‭ ‬Bay along what they hoped would be the quickest route across the unknown terrain.‭ ‬On average,‭ ‬they could trudge along at only six miles a day.‭ ‬On a good day,‭ ‬the temperature climbed up to‭ ‬0°F,‭ ‬and the winds dipped below‭ ‬30‭ ‬miles per hour.‭ ‬There weren’t many good days.‭ ‬A tent was fashioned from the tent cover and parts of the extra sledge.‭ ‬The dogs were‭ “‬fed‭” ‬by letting them chew on worn out fur mittens and spare rawhide straps.‭ ‬When the last dog died,‭ ‬the two fashioned crude harnesses to pull the sledges themselves.‭ ‬Mertz weakened quickly from malnutrition.‭ ‬On‭ ‬31‭ ‬December,‭ ‬some two and a half weeks after the loss of Ninnis,‭ ‬he suggested they start eating their rations to improve their condition.‭ ‬It didn’t help Mertz.‭ ‬The next day he complained of stomach cramps,‭ ‬and his health failed rapidly.‭ ‬In a few days,‭ ‬Mawson was hauling him on the sledge,‭ ‬and had to help him in and out of his sleeping bag.

On‭ ‬7‭ ‬January,‭ ‬Mertz fell into a delirium and soon breathed his last.‭ ‬Mawson took stock as he had to abandon his friend’s body.‭ “‬For hours I lay in the bag,‭ ‬rolling over in my mind all that lay behind and the chance of the future.‭ ‬I seemed to stand alone on the wide shores of the world…My physical condition was such that I felt I might collapse at any moment…Several of my toes commenced to blacken and fester near the tips and the nails worked loose.‭ ‬There appeared to be little hope…It was easy to sleep on in the bag,‭ ‬and the weather was cruel outside‭”‬.‭ ‬He was‭ ‬one hundred miles from‭ ‬Commonwealth‭ ‬Bay.

Discarding everything that wasn’t essential to survival,‭ ‬save his hard-won collection of geological specimens and observations,‭ ‬he trudged on.‭ ‬A single sledge,‭ ‬which he dragged behind him,‭ ‬carried his meager supplies and records.‭ ‬He couldn’t abandon his notes‭ ‬-‭ ‬they were the whole point of the expedition.

On‭ ‬17‭ ‬January,‭ ‬Mawson’s makeshift harness saved his life.‭ ‬The snow opened up beneath him,‭ ‬and he fell in.‭ ‬Luckily,‭ ‬the sledge caught in the heavy snow,‭ ‬and he was able to struggle out‭ – ‬only to slip back into the crevasse.‭ “‬My strength was ebbing fast‭;” ‬he would later write.‭ “…‬in a few moments it would be too late.‭” ‬He summoned a‭ ‬last‭ ‬reserve of strength and clambered out again to continue his trek.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2639/3845273949_c2577064c2_d.jpg
Map by the author

Blizzards attacked him and starvation weakened him.‭ ‬It soon took him two hours just to set up a makeshift camp at the end of the day.

On the‭ ‬29th,‭ ‬after three weeks alone on the ice,‭ ‬and with his supplies virtually gone,‭ ‬he came upon a fresh snow cairn.‭ ‬Search parties from the base had been out looking for them,‭ ‬and had left some‭ ‬provisions.‭ ‬A note also carried the happy information that a cave they set up as a supply cache wasn’t too far away,‭ ‬and the‭ ‬Aurora was waiting in the harbor.‭ ‬Oh,‭ ‬and that Amundsen had reached the South Pole.‭ ‬In his weakened condition,‭ ‬it took him three days to make it to the cave.‭ ‬Then the weather turned for the worse,‭ ‬trapping him there for a week.‭ ‬But for the first time in a month and a half,‭ ‬Mawson had decent food and shelter.

Finally arriving back at the base,‭ ‬Mawson was greeted by one last kick in the shins from Fate.‭ ‬He could see a speck on the horizon‭ – ‬the‭ ‬Aurora‭ – ‬but she was heading out.‭ ‬Six men had volunteered to stay behind in the hopes that Mawson,‭ ‬Mertz,‭ ‬and Ninnis would return.‭ ‬They sent out a quick radio message,‭ ‬but the ice was too thick for the ship to approach,‭ ‬and too thin for the men to make it out to her.‭ ‬Mawson would have to spend another year at‭ ‬Commonwealth‭ ‬Bay.‭ ‬Fortunately,‭ ‬there were plenty of supplies and the hut was in fine shape.‭ ‬They were even able to make a few more treks to fill in more blanks on the map the next summer.

The‭ ‬Aurora returned in December of‭ ‬1913‭ ‬to collect the men.‭ ‬They arrived back in‭ ‬Australia on‭ ‬26‭ ‬February,‭ ‬1914.‭ ‬Mawson‭ ‬went back to the‭ ‬University of‭ ‬Adelaide,‭ ‬and he would soon be knighted for his explorations.‭ ‬He continued to work and promote the further exploration of the Antarctic,‭ ‬and on his death in‭ ‬1958‭ ‬he was given a full Australian state funeral.

Even though Scott and Amundsen conducted their own observations during their epic Race for the Pole,‭ ‬they cannot match the legacy of the AAE.‭ ‬Historians of polar exploration widely regard it as one of the greatest triumphs in the field.‭ ‬Team members logged over‭ ‬4,000‭ ‬miles in lands never before visited by man,‭ ‬and it took some thirty years to publish all the notes and data they collected.‭ ‬A cross and stone cairn mark the sacrifices of Ninnis and Mertz‭;‬ their bodies were never recovered.‭ ‬Mawson is properly regarded as a hero in‭ ‬Australia‭ – ‬but is virtually unknown in the rest of the world.

The Home of the Blizzard by Douglas Mawson at Amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/Home-Blizzard-Story-Antarctic-Survival/dp/0312211252

In the Footsteps of Douglas Mawson
http://www.mawson.sa.gov.au/netscape.htm

Cool Antarctica's page on the AAE:
http://www.coolantarctica.com/Antarctica%20fact%20file/History/Douglas%20Mawson.htm

Douglas Mawson at The Australian Dictionary of Biography:
http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A100444b.htm


Silverhill
Posted 28 September 2010 at 04:13 pm

I remember reading about Mawson's trek in Reader's Digest, a number of years ago (in an article that is apparently not available in their website archives). In addition to the cold and wind, Mertz and Mawson---and then Mawson especially, once alone---had an additional problem with the rations. To supplement their diet, they ate parts of the dead dogs, especially the liver. This was an innocent, but severe, mistake.
From the Wikipedia article:
"The liver of certain animals — including the polar bear, seal, walrus, and husky — is unsafe to eat because it is extraordinarily high in vitamin A. This danger has long been known to the Inuit and has been recognized by Europeans since at least 1597 when Gerrit de Veer wrote in his diary that, while taking refuge in the winter in Nova Zemlya, he and his men became severely ill after eating polar bear liver. In 1913, Antarctic explorers Douglas Mawson and Xavier Mertz were both poisoned (and Mertz died) from eating the liver of their sled dogs.
Vitamin A itself was not discovered until 1917."
also: "Signs of acute toxicity include nausea and vomiting, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, and loss of muscular coordination." Skin drying and peeling can happen too.

Toward the end of his trek, Mawson fashioned crude crampons from pieces of wood and screws from the sledge, to help him as he staggered across the ice. The soles of his feet were badly peeling, and he lost several toes to frostbite; he barely made it back to base.
Mawson died without (I believe) ever knowing what had gone so horribly wrong.


Ahuva
Posted 29 September 2010 at 05:38 am

Richard Solensky, thank you so much for posting your article. It was great to reach this site and finally find an article to read. I've never given up on this site. Its quality is too high for me to let go of it easily. Finding your article has shown me that my faith hasn't been in vain.
As for the article, I found it, appropriately enough, damn interesting! I had never heard of Mawson and the story of his exploration is significant.


Fishrock
Posted 29 September 2010 at 10:18 am

Thanks, Richard.
I hadn't visited for 3 or 4 months...what an unexpected surprise!

I enjoyed this one--had a relative who was on the Greely expedition to the Arctic. Not a glamorous outcome there; they had major problems with resupplying, and consequently starvation.


sssssssspoon
Posted 01 November 2010 at 09:04 am

Great Article Richard, I thoroughly enjoyed it. So nice to get a new piece at DI. Well done, even if you have to hijack the site in this manner. Well done.

Third.


Ard Ri
Posted 02 November 2010 at 03:54 pm

Damn Cold! Great article, this site has been chugging along slowly...but I'm still a fan!


nonsequitur
Posted 04 November 2010 at 04:24 pm

Damn! Interesting! Thank You!


Deen
Posted 17 May 2014 at 03:34 am

Hi ,I'm one of the persons that the company had to help blast the pit of ore holes every noon time..The conditions were harsh with a fifty below and a chill factor..There was a war going on and a steady push for the ores..We worked for al bevis,and he was a delight to work for ..most men were of brawn and it was physical difficult work at times..was a great town the people were one of a kind...It was a blow to the workers when they shut down the company town..to go from job locked to float around on unemployment and not trained for workforce..many a tear the female of the household would shed..many jobs the miner had to take that was out of his knowledge,but he held on and learned...shout out to the miners.take it easy.....we were great


Granville Wells
Posted 29 August 2014 at 08:00 pm

yu_chan said: "As always, great article!

Now, let me ramble...
...So, let's say that after some time, they are able to develop cures for cancer and ways to clean up all sorts of pollution and other very powerful things by studying the newly discovered microorganisms of this pit. What would the public image of Anaconda be? Would they be the evil, uncaring, money hungry, pollution mongers like other chemical companies (case in point: Love Canal, etc), or would the fact that they took what they wanted (valuable resources) and left the remainder (unmanagable toxic waste) for someone else to deal with (unknowing citizens fo Butte) be swept under the rug, or even celebrated since it lead to the holy grail of modern science: the "cure for cancer"?"

I go about my daily life not caring about anything. Then my memory goes back to Bisby AZ and a great bigger than life hole. Anaconda is away in South America digging there. Driving thru Colorada I seen whole mountains removed and the little rock left behind. I don't know of the damage, but it must be great.
A great idea...., Tear down Washington DC and remove all of it to Montana. Without the distractions they could actually pay attention to their job.
Sorry, I was daydreaming.


Dennis Kender
Posted 18 November 2014 at 09:19 pm

Please get the basic mining history facts straight! The Anaconda Co. sold its mining operations to ARCO; which is the Atlantic Richfield Company. Thus it was ARCO that decided to save some money by turning off the pumps! ARCO knew nothing about underground mining operations and had ceased that form of mining; but continued with the pit mining of the Berkley Pit.

ARCO gave up the entire endeavor as a very bad idea. It has been said to me that it was the ARCO accountants who (not knowing a blasted thing about the material world) suggested that ARCO stop the pumps in order to save something like $10,000 per month as I remember it.


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