Riley Pass Uranium Mine Clean-up
2013 Riley Pass Spring Newsletter
The Forest Service, with the assistance of EPA and the State of South Dakota, has developed and is implementing a cleanup plan for the Riley Pass Abandoned Uranium Mine in the North Cave Hills. This website provides background information and documentation associated with the site and updates regarding ongoing reclamation efforts.
The Riley Pass Uranium mines are located on 250 acres of the North Cave Hills region approximately 25 miles north of Buffalo, SD on the Custer National Forest.
Riley Pass uranium mining started in 1954 as authorized by the General Mining Law and Public Law 357. Strip mining to reach uranium contained in the underlying Tertiary Fort Union formation coal seams removed up to 80 feet of overburden, which was piled on the outer edges of the rimrock. No reclamation was required as directed by Public Law 357.
The site consists of twelve mined bluffs labeled “A” through “L” (refer to maps for specific sites).
In 1996, the Custer National Forest began working at the Riley Pass site under their Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) authority. The Forest Service and Office of General Council determined that Tronox, LLC (formally known as Kerr McGee or Kermac) was the potentially responsible party (PRP) for site reclamation of six of the twelve Bluff mine sites. Tronox signed an Administrative Order on Consent (Settlement Agreement) for Bluffs B, C, D, E, G, and H. The remaining Non–Tronox bluffs have no viable PRP.
The Forest Service is undergoing long-term efforts, reclaiming the site of both Tronox and Non-Tronox bluffs. Millennium Science and Engineering (MSE) of Salt Lake City, Utah under contract with the Forest Service developed the reclamation plan for Non-Tronox Bluffs.
Contractor specifications are advertised each spring through Fed Biz Ops. Background material and progress for contractors and the general public is readily made available at this site.
If you are unable to locate items or have additional questions please contact:
On-Scene Coordinator/Custer National Forest Assistant Forest Geologist at email@example.com or at 406-446-4520.
Additional Resources and Links
Study Data: Abandoned Uranium Mine Impacts on private and NFS land in western South Dakota - http://uranium.sdsmt.edu/