Epa's Cleanup Of Copper Mine Ending, Vermont To Monitor

FILE — A warning sign stands outside the Elizabeth Mine, Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, in Strafford, Vt. The Elizabeth Mine was a 19th century copper mine abandoned in the late 1950s. The EPA says that its 20-year cleanup of the former copper mine in Strafford is coming to an end and that it will hand over monitoring of the site to authorities in Vermont. The Lebanon Valley News reported Friday that Ed Hathaway, the EPA project manager, will make a final visit to the Elizabeth Mine Superfund site on Nov. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring, File)
FILE — A warning sign stands outside the Elizabeth Mine, Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, in Strafford, Vt. The Elizabeth Mine was a 19th century copper mine abandoned in the late 1950s. The EPA says that its 20-year cleanup of the former copper mine in Strafford is coming to an end and that it will hand over monitoring of the site to authorities in Vermont. The Lebanon Valley News reported Friday that Ed Hathaway, the EPA project manager, will make a final visit to the Elizabeth Mine Superfund site on Nov. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring, File)
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STRAFFORD, Vt. (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency says that its 20-year cleanup of a former copper mine in Strafford is coming to an end and that it will hand over monitoring of the site to authorities in Vermont.

The Lebanon Valley News reported Friday that the EPA project manager, Ed Hathaway, will make a final visit to the Elizabeth Mine Superfund site on Nov. 18.

The agency is also trying to remove its equipment before snow and winter weather make that more difficult, the newspaper reported.

“You’re looking at something that took the better part of a century and a half to create — an extensive area, hundreds of acres of contamination,” said Ed Hathaway, the EPA project manager, of the former mine. “The level of cleanup and the extent is a function of what you inherit.”

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources will take over control of the property, though the EPA will continue to offer technical assistance and conduct reviews every five years. The property is still privately owned.

The state will spend about $61,000 a year mowing, sampling and maintaining the treatment system installed by the EPA, John Schmeltzer, a hazardous site manager for the Department of Environmental Conservation, told the newspaper.

The $90 million cleanup of the superfund site started in 2001. Contaminated water had been leaching from waste rock and tailings into streams since the 150-year-old copper mine closed in 1958, endangering animals and homes nearby.