This is a reformat & reprint of an Article on the Callahan Mine originally printed in the Bangor Daily News August 14, 1979 which will make it easier to quote & refer to its content. ( Thank you Eric A. Tuttle For retyping this entire article . Here is the original)
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first installment of a two-part series dealing with the legacy of the Callahan Maine on Cape Rosier.
By Jean Heavrin
NEWS Hancock Bureau
(First of two articles)
HARBORSIDE — The local people call it goose feathers, the downy foam created at Goose Cove in Harborside, where the Penobscot Bay touches the tidal inlet of Goose Pond. The fresh and salt water mixing just right causes the airy fluff to form and often seem to bury boats moored in the cove.
It looks at first glance to be a typical case of water pollution. But it’s not.
The pollution at Goose Cove is not in the water, but what lies just beneath it — a talcose layer of fine silt containing heavy metals deposited by the Callahan Mining Co. when it ran the zinc and copper mine at Goose Pond from 1967 to 1972.
That layer of silt and other legacies of the mine are the concern of a little group of people who make up the Goose Pond Reclamation Society. Its annual meeting will be held Wednesday, Aug. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Brooksville Town House, and president Albert Sandecki has suggested that the organization be dissolved. The GPRS was formed by Callahan Mine in 1971 to be a sounding board for local opinions and concerns over the reclamation of the mine. The mining company gave the group of local residents, state agency representatives and mine representatives $1000 to work with.
Callahan Mining Co. is exempt from the state’s mining reclamation law, which went into effect in 1969, because the mine was in operation at the time, and it is supposedly “grandfathered” out of the legislation.
“An operator shall not be required to provide, in a mining plan, for the reclamation of land affected by mining operations prior to Oct. 1, 1969, but shall be required to provide for the reclamation of land affected by a mining operation subsequent to Oct. 1,1969″, the law reads.
Paula Cambridge in the Department of Environmental Protection office in Bangor, said her office considers the land affected to be surface land the fact that the land continued to be affected (dug, piled, blasted) after Oct. 1, 1969 therefore does not apply, since the same surface area was in use.
Fred Beck, who was vice president of Callahan Mining Co. and a member of GPRS until last year, affirmed that the mining company was “never under any obligation to do any reclamation.”
Callahan leased 68-acre Goose Pond, a state tidal estuary, from the state, and drained it to get at the ore body beneath it. The company blasted a hole 380-feet deep and paid a reported $20,000 to the state in royalties over the five-year period.
Part of the state mining lease says, “Lessee will cooperate with Lessor, its various agencies and the other officials of the town of Brooksville… in the planning, funding, and implementation of a program for the rehabilitation of the said lands upon the completion of the mining activities thereon. The details of such program, including the funding and administration of the same and the source of funds to accomplish the program shall be the subject of further discussion and negotiation between the parties.”
The Maine Department of Conservation has a reclamation plan dated Aug. 15, 1972, drawn up by Fred Beck of Callahan Mining Co. and endorsed by GPRS From all indications, compliance with the plan is voluntary.
The three-page outline calls for reflooding of the Goose Pond area to recreate the pond, and the removal of the dam at Goose Falls, separating Goose Pond from Goose Cove.
The plan calls for grading of the dump areas, and the seeding and planting of the rock and tailing material.
It calls for the sale of equipment and buildings, with the destruction and removal of mill buildings.
It also lists periodic tests of heavy metal content and other things such as salinity and acidity of the water to be conducted on a regular basis.
The mine pit has been reflooded, and is currently under a five-year lease by the Maine Sea Farms for the raising of rainbow trout and Pacific Coho salmon.
Part of the dam was removed last year by order of Bob Mant of Maine Sea Farms, and Callahan Mining, now of Darien, Conn. reportedly paid the $10,000 bill. Tidal water again flows in Goose Pond, but three-fourths of the dam is still in place.
The 10-acre tailings pond, on the former Dyer property, has been reseeded with limited success. Cattails cover the center of the drained tailings pond, which one local resident described as having “quicksand” consistency when wet.
Seven thousand trees and shrubs were reportedly planted on the 107-acre property next to the flooded pit. The newly formed “Callahan Mountain,” a rock waste pile, is covered with specks of black oil which was suppose to carry grass seed in and emulsion to grow on the hill with the aid of a little straw.
Callahan Mining President Charles Snead, in a telephone interview Monday from Denver, said the actual cash outlay by his company for reclamation came to $235,000, more than half of it invested in the aquaculture project, but about $100,000 on the seeding, hay, fertilizer, trees, mulching and water systems.
On site inspection shows the mountain is still a hard rock waste pile, and the trees, the ones that have leaves, are about tow feet high. The acre is barren and desolate, a sharp contrast to Holbrook Island Sanctuary located on the other side of Goose Pond.
(NEXT( Callahan has no legal obligation to restore lands it used in its mining operations.)
Quick Sand & Metal Silt From Mine Cause Concern
Link to original article
Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-
part series on the legacy of Callahan Mine on Cape Rosier in Brooksville. Callahan Mine ceased operations in 1972, and the Goose Pond Reclamation Society, which it was instrumental in founding, is on the verge of disbanding.
By Jean Heavrin
News Hancock Bureau
HARBORSIDE — Despite a state mining lease that refers to “the rehabilitation of the said lands upon the completion of mining activities,” and a mining reclamation law passed in the middle of its operations in Harborside, the Callahan Mining Corp. apparently has no legal obligation to restore lands it used in its mining operations which ended in 1972.
The company spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars after it closed, according to company president Charles Snead, in physical and economic reclamation of the area. About $100,000 was spent in physical reclamation, and the balance of the $235,000 was spent on the establishment of an aquaculture project in the reflooded mine pit.
Snead said the mining company sold the aquaculture project, including land and buildings, to Maine Sea Farms for $25,000.
“The amount of money invested was far more than what we ultimately got for it,” Snead said of the aquaculture project.
But despite the large investment in cleaning up what was ultimately a losing operation (the net loss of the Harborside mine to the Callahan Mining Corp. came to $600,000, Snead said), the property and bordering waters have the potential for becoming an environmental nightmare.
The 10-acre drained tailings pond on the former Redman farm is contained by a steep loose-rock dam about 100-feet high. The tailings, ground rock about the size of sand, develop a quicksand consistency in wet weather.
Albert Sandecki, president of the Goose Pond Reclamation Society, is concerned about the stability of the tailings pond.
“If we have a sonic boom or an earthquake and it goes, moves, who is going to be liable for it?” he asks.
Minutes of the June 6, 1972 meeting of GPRS state that the Army Corps of Engineers is “very concerned about the structural stability of the tailings embankment. They are hoping for the best, but are not discounting the availability of the worst.”
Also, during the course of the operation of the mine, effluent containing fine silt the consistency of talcum powder was pumped into Goose Cove. The silt contains heavy metal residues, and state that the Army Corps of Engineers is “very concerned about the structural stability of the tailings embankment. They are hoping for the best, but are not discounting the availability of the worst.”
Also, during the course of the operation of the mine, effluent containing fine silt the consistency of talcum powder was pumped into Goose Cove. The silt contains heavy metal residues, and ove “will cause environmental damage which would not occur if no dredging took place.”
Callahan took the position that it would not expose itself to the potential legal liability which could occur as a result of environmental harm caused by dredging.
A report by Robert Dow, — director of Marine Research with the Sea and Shore Fisheries, included in the 1971 minutes of the GPRS, say “significant and substantial increases in heavy metal content of soft shell clams in Goose Pond Cove have occurred since the operation of the separation plant at Harborside.”
In GPRS minutes of 1973, Dow had reported that his bureau had spent $10,000 on shellfish monitoring in the area since 1967 and that the federal government had spent $47,000 in the same period.
John Hurst of the Marine Resources Department said last week that the clams in the area “when we were looking at it several years ago were accumulating high levels of heavy metals” including lead, but that in his opinion “it sure as heck doesn’t have any public health problems,” and that someone would have to eat clams at every meal for a month to get sick.
Hurst said a study financed by the Environmental Protection Agency, loking into the Callahan Mine site and three other locations (including Kerramerican Mine in Blue Hill) will probably be finished by Oct. 1.
The Goose Pond Reclamation Society will meet Wednesday, Aug. 15, at 7 p.m. at the Brooksville Town House for its annual, and possibly last, meeting.
Chairman Albert Sandecki is planning to propose that the society dissolve, not because its work is finished, but because it isn’t.
“There doesn’t seem much sense in carrying on with a project that I don’t think was ever meant to be carried on in the first place. Essentially the committee was set up by Callahan to decide that we couldn’t decide. We were set up to accomplish essentially what Callahan wanted us to accomplish, which was nothing.”
The annual meeting is open to the public.