Chelan—Mine clean-up personnel have been hard at work this summer at the Holden Mine site. Forest Service officials are pleased with the excellent progress made this season at the inactive mine located on the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest, about 50 miles north of the city of Chelan.
Throughout the summer the site has had an average of 140 personnel working on various elements of the clean-up operations.
Emphasis areas for this construction season have included construction of the Lucerne barge ramp and landing area, development of the rock quarry and several borrow material areas, underground mine portal bulkhead installation, platform construction for the underground barrier wall (scheduled to be installed in 2014), the temporary diversion of Copper Creek, and preparation work for the realignment of Railroad Creek.
Among the most significant achievements of the summer has been the dismantling of the Howe Sound Mill Structure. Chelan District Ranger Kari Grover Wier describes the absence of the old mill structure as a visible sign of recovery at the Holden Mine site. “It is a step towards restoring the area to a more natural state,” states Grover Wier. The mill structure needed to be removed so that the underlying and adjacent waste material could be re-graded to a stable slope eventually covered with vegetation.
“Preparation and hard work from all parties involved has made this season successful,” explains Jolene Gosselin-Campbell, Forest Service Assistant Remedial Project Manager for the Holden Mine Cleanup. “Pieces of the puzzle are coming together and we are seeing a positive transformation that will in time improve the environmental health in the Railroad Creek valley and ultimately Lake Chelan.”
But the season is far from over. The next major accomplishment for the cleanup will be the completion of the newly realigned section of Railroad Creek. Over the course of the summer, a nearly 900 foot creek bed has been constructed to divert Railroad Creek away from the tailings piles. The goal is to have water flowing through the realigned stream bed before the construction season is over in November.
After completing the 2013 construction season, crews will return next spring to construct a below ground barrier wall, and continue cleanup efforts at the Holden Mine site to improve the environmental health in the Railroad Creek valley.
Please visit the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/okawen/ for Holden Mine Remediation construction updates or for more information call the Chelan Ranger District office at (509) 682-4900.