Callahan Mine Superfund Site Information Resources Directory

This directory compiled by Bowker Associates, Science & Research in the Public Interest, Stonington Maine is a compilation of scientific and narrative information on the Callahan Mine in Brooksville Maine which was designated as a Superfund site in 2001 and has completed two phases of remediation.  The final and most extensive phase of remediation ,  the reclamation  of the site itself, its groundwaters and the former mine pit under Goose pond,  will take two more years to plan and design, another 10 years to implement and will cost an estimated $22 million. This directory, intended to support researchers, journalists, the local community, legislators and public agencies is by no means complete and will be continually updated and edited.  Contributions are welcome.  Postings and comments are welcome.  Corrections are welcome. The Callahan is of interest beyond our local community as it is the only known  open pit sulfide mine ever in a tidal estuary. The deposit, discovered by a clammer in the late 19th c. lay under Goose Pond.  The deposit was re evaluated in 1964 by Callahan staff and its development  was facilitated not only by a lease of the intertidal zone from the state but a special act of the legislature. At its inception the Callahan was praised and welcomed by the Governor for its environmentally responsible vision and its commitment to a reclamation that would return  the site to its pre-mining environmental health and ecology.  The lease said that reclamation would be determined between the parties and a statute on reclamation passed shortly after Callahan began work exempted them by grandfathering all mines in operation at time of passage.  That same provision was in the draft of the Mining Rule as transmitted by DEP to BEP and was challeneged by Bowker Associates citing the Callahan experience..(  It was removed). This unique history makes the Callahan an important and instructive reference on public policy for metallic mining, of politics trumping science and best practices, This directory is organized , more or less, alphabetically by topic rather than in a narrative beginning to end story of the Callahan. Each topic is highlighted in bold.   The information links provided under each topic provide a brief annotation, primarily descriptive but occasionally also  commentary and analysis. Lindsay Newland Bowker, CPCU ARM, Environmental Risk Manager, Principal Bowker Associates, Science & Research In the Public Interest

15 Cove Meadow Rd

Stonington, Maine 04681

207 367 5145207 367 5145

October 2,2013


Health Risks & Risks To Biota

Back Ground & History NPL Priorities List Description The official NPL ( National Priorities List ) Description of the Callahan Mine.  This includes an account of the discovery of the mine by a clammer in 1888, a very brief geochemical profile, a description of the dam and breaching of the dam as part of the reclamation plan . . The circumstances that legitimately place Callahan Mine on the NPL lists are important.  During hearings on various bills to modify Maine’s lobbyist written mining statute in 2012, key members ( my recollection is Tom Saviello) of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Committee before whom these bills were heard, asserted on the public record, that the designation of the Callahan as a Superfund site was somehow a gift to Maine and that conditions there were not as severe as were normally assumed to be associated with Superfund sites.  Science says this is not at all the case and numerous studies document the severity of the Callahans ongoing environmental degradation. As a comparison with the Bald Mountain deposit the physical description in this report is also significant.  The Callahan was a very tiny  mine.  Only about 300 ft deep and 600-1000 ft across. And a lot less risk in its geochemical profile. ****** This study was primarily concerned with lichens known to be tolerant of metals toxic to other species and of possible use in bio remediation.  This study also contains much historical and geochemical information on the Callahan deposit and additional details on its mining history ****** Characterization of Contamination Remedial Investigation Report Executive Summary Callahan Mine Superfund Site Brooksville, Maine Prepared for Maine Department of Transportation by Mactec Engineering & Consulting Inc., April.   The primary assessment of contamination at the site was done by Portland based Mac Tec in 2009 for MDOT ( This link is only to the executive summary. The following table was provided by Ed Hathaway, EPA’s Project Director on The Callahan,and transferred to Excel by volunteer Eric A. Tuttle tomake meaningful analysis possible. ( ( Please ignore the scatter plot that turns up as a first page..will fix) This should down load to excel should you want to do your own analysis. A very key analysis customarily done on this data,called Acid Based Accounting (ABA) data is  an NPR-S plot. It is the most widely used tool for analyzing ABA data ( Please excuse extra r in Sulphur,will fix) On an NPR-S Plot : Quadrant 1 Lo Risk ( Non ARD generating)..NP:AP ratio >3, % Sulfur/ sulfite),3%; Quadrant 2 would suggest non ARD generating but high sulfur/sulfide (>.3) indicates a need for further study of the sulfides and their interaction with the neutralizing material s over time ( a type of testing called kinetic testing) Quadrant 3 Uncertain. Normally an NP:AP ratio of < 3 would indicate likly ARD (Acid Rock Drainage) that could also trigger release of toxic metals and arsenic)  but this quadrant is also lo sulphur ( <.3) so again kinetic tests are needed to improve certainty about potential ARD generation Quadrant 4: Almost certainly ARD generating and those with NP:AP< .1 likely to generate ARD immediately on oxidation. This, as a stand alone document, does not support the risk assessment of the MAC TEC 2009 report ( In this scatter plot the data elements refer to those discussed in the 2009 report). I have requested further documentation from Ed Hathaway and specifically inquired whether the indicated kinetic testing was done. Here is the original Table 4.2-5 sent to me by Ed Hathaway from which we generated our Excel Spread Sheet The shaded areas are flagged as those that are potentially ARD generating and represent only a fraction of those identified as ARD generating or uncertain based on the NPR-S plot. I am awaiting ED Hathaways response to my request for further information but it does appear there was no kinetic testing done and no further investigation to examine the high degree of uncertainty.   Lead isotope evidence for metal dispersal at the Callahan Cu–Zn–Pb mine: Goose Pond tidal estuary, Maine, USA, Ayuso, Robert A.,Foley, Nora K., Seal Robert R.,Bove, Marianna, CIvitillo Diego, Cosenzo, Antonio, Grezzo, Giuseppe  Journal of Geochemical Exploration 2013 This study in which Dr. Robert Seal, USGS participated shows lead contamination to be mainly on and very near the site and says that samples within 1km are virtually indistinguishable from naturally occurring background, ( ie no evidence of significant off site lead contamination) “The prominence and position of the waste relative to the tidal estuary constitute key features representing point sources of heavily contaminated debris. The massive sulfides are hosted by bimodal volcanic rocks of the Cambrian Castine Volcanics (basalt and rhyolite). Sulfide minerals include pyrite, sphalerite, chalcopyrite, and minor galena.A total of 275 analyses of Pb isotopes were done to fully characterize barren volcanic and hydrothermally-altered and mineralized rocks, massive sulfides and disseminated sulfides, waste rock (and tailings) and pond sediments from drill cores, pit water, seeps, and aquatic biota (lobsters, crabs, and bivalves)” “ Estuary sediments adjacent to the tailings pile and waste rocks have high metal abundances and exhibit the closest resemblance to the massive sulfide isotopic compositions. Bivalve shells obtained from estuary core sediments have growth zones with contents of Pb (5–76ppm), Zn (6–443ppm), and Cu (0–262ppm) that do not vary systematically from zone to zone, and that display no correlation to geographic distribution. The bivalves incorporated lead and other metals by ingesting suspended fine sulfide and silicate particles in addition to dissolved metals in the contaminated waters of the estuary.Water from the open pit and from seeps draining the tailings pile (206Pb/204Pb=17.972–18.504, 207Pb/204Pb=15.501–15.590) overlaps the massive sulfide ore” “A rise in pH above 4.5 and reaction of fluid with calcite in the tailings results in removal of more than 65% of Pb (including anglesite precipitate) by sorption to iron-oxyhydroxide precipitates. Pb transport in the Callahan system is thus likely to occur dominantly within solid phases (galena→anglesite+Fe-oxide→cerussite/carbonate+Fe-oxide) rather than dissolved in solution. Mass wasting of such fine Pb-bearing solid particulates from the waste and tailing piles likely accounts for the largest fraction of the Pb load in the estuary.Lead-bearing water from the Callahan mine is transferred out of the site and available to lobsters and crabs; the aquatic biota thus partly reflect compositions (206Pb/204Pb=18.021–18.539, 207Pb/204Pb=15.497–15.627) within the range of the ores and tailings. The contaminating effects radiating from the mine are intense adjoining the tailings piles and waste rock and adjacent to the site. These effects are significantly attenuated and essentially undistinguishable from natural background in a short distance (~1km).” Ground  Water Remediation The ground water under the ore pad is heavily contaminated with copper & zinc but also high levels of arsenic, and  lead,  All of the documented  offsite flow is toward and into Dyer Cove.  However, there is some possibility, indicated in a recent Dartmouth study, that filtration is occurring and that the discharge of waters into Dyer Cove may not be as toxic as the groundwater immediately under the ore pad. EPA site Cordinator, Ed Hathaway, regards this only as “not presently documented” ( email exchange w Bowker Associates).It is not clear whether there are monitoring wells in place which can detect any differences between toxic metals at the outflow and those immediately under the ore pad. (Bowker Assicaites has requested further information) The Dartmouth study used a technique to identity the source of metals in the waters around the side and concluded that the main source is sediments created during mining operations and from breeching of the dam. There are no detailed plans as of 2013 for any groundwater remediation.  This will be part of Operating Unit 3,the third phase of the radiation and that plan will take at least two years to develop. A general guide to ground water remediation Some of the methods for extraction of metals are :


In the phytoremediation process certain plants and trees are planted, whose roots absorb contaminants from ground water over time, and are harvested and destroyed. This process can be carried out in areas where the roots can tap the ground water. Few examples of plants that are used in this process are Chinese Ladder fern Pteris vittata, also known as the brake fern, is a highly efficient accumulator of arsenic. Genetically altered cottonwood trees are good absorbers of mercury and transgenic Indian mustard plants soak up selenium well

Chemical precipitation

Chemical precipitation is commonly used in wastewater treatment to remove hardness and heavy metals. In general, the process involves addition of agent to an aqueous waste stream in a stirred reaction vessel, either batchwise or with steady flow. Most metals can be converted to insoluble compounds by chemical reactions between the agent and the dissolved metal ions. The insoluble compounds (precipitates) are removed by settling and/or filtering Electrowinning (in conjunction with wastewater treatment) for copper and zinc and a few other metals but not arsenic.   Health Risk Assessment   Fish and clams were found to have lead contamination at levels hazardous to health.  Protection is afforded through present restrictions on the taking of fish and shellfish from the affected area ( study requested by EPA) One of the questions/issues possibly raised b the Dartmouth study is whether contaminated fish/shellfish are leaving the affected areas. Land Use-Post Remediation The town of Brooksville’s 2007 Comprehensive Plan is a major determinant of post remediation land use. The former mine pit, now flooded, is bordered on one side by the state owned Holbrook Wildlife Sanctuary and the other by the Smith Preservation Trust, the land containing all of the land based mine site components, the ore pad, mine operations area, three waste rock piles and tailings. A portion of the mine site overlaps the comprehensive plan delineated Haborborside village growth area. The entire site is delineated as a threat to residential ground waters in the comprehensive plan with a goal of studying and enacting appropriate protections ( see MacTec 2009 report for info on groundwater flows The flow is toward and into Dyer Cove (away from the population center)  Also reference is made to two additional separate and apparently self contained ground water basins. Smith Preservation Trusts goal for the entire 150 acre site is restoration to forested land to pre-mining conditions.(Hamlin & Hamlin are local attorney’s for Smith Preservation Trust) The majority of Community Stakeholders have expressed a desire to maintain the site as is with revegetation ( ie not reforested) for hiking, walking and picnics especially preserving open space for scenic views at waste rock pile 1.  Reuse Assessment Report for the Callahan Mine Superfund Site prepared by E2 Inc. 2009   Mining Operations Remedial Investigation Report Executive Summary  Callahan Mine Superfund Site Brooksville, Maine Prepared for Maine Department of Transportation by Mactec Engineering & Consulting Inc., April 2009 This report for Maine DOT provides a good overview of operations at the site during active mining.and an analysis of contamination at each of the major elements of the mine site.  It notes that no liners  or covers were used at any of the three waste rock piles and   no liner was used at the ore pad.   On page E-6 reference is made to ABA accounting of waste rock which show it to be net neutralizing. My own review of the data referred to showed that of the 6 ore pad samples analyzed for ARD risk, two were very high risk and the others were net neutralizing.  I am awaiting the attending analysis of this data by Mac Tec and its consultants. The waste rock piles were not lined or covered and contain acid generating   sulfides and toxic metals. The highest concentrations of cadmium were found in ground water under the ore pad where ground water flows east and southeast emptying into Dyer Cove. Bedrock groundwater under the ore pad is also contaminated with sulfates indicating ARD generation from overlying waste materials. Contains summary  hydrogeology studies indicating that the bedrock rock groundwater under  waste rock pile 1 discharges to  Dyer Cove and Goose Pond and as of the date of this study shows the bedrock groundwater contaminated by lead, cadmium and manganese.  Waste rock pile 3 is a former tailings pile and is leaching toxic metals into Dyer Cove. It also provides details on the location and nature of each of the major contamination areas on site. Letter from Fred M. Beck, local Brooskille Summer/weekend Resident and Exploration Geologist for Callahan to Selectmen in 1973 explaining why the mine would close and why there were no immediate or even forseeable possibilities of further exploration. REMEDIATION PLAN & PLAN HISTORY   Weston, Roy F. Callahan Mine Final Hazard Ranking System Package July 16,2001  This document explains at the outset  that ground water migration, soil exposure and air migration pathways did not contribute significantly to the Hazard Ranking  and so were not included   This seems to be at odds with the 2009 analysis by Map Tec which identified two key ground water pathways contributing to contamination of Dyer Cove and  perimeter   Both sources were confirmed by hydrogeology by Mac Tec.  The Mac Tec 2010 report (Basis of Design Report) follows the Roy F. Weston Hazard analysis but seems inconsistent also with its own 2009 report for MDOT. See discussion and links below on Federal Law and the place and purpose of the Hazard Ranking system.The actual redediation plan is governed by later and more detailed studies such as that undertaken by MacTec in 2009 for Maine DOT.     OPERABLE UNIT 1 Record of Decision USEPA, 2009. Record of Decision, Operable Unit 1, Callahan Mine Superfund Site, Brooksville, Maine. September   BASIS OF DESIGN REPORT OPERABLE UNIT 1 Callahan Mine Superfund Site Brooksville, Maine Prepared for: Maine Department of Transportation Augusta, Maine By MACTEC, Portland Maine September 23, 2010 Peter S. Baker Principal Project Manager This paper details the final scope of  remediation work to be conducted by MACTEC. ( Now AMEC) Operable Unit 2 Nearing completion now ( September 2013) has mainly continued the PCB clean up (mine operations area) which was far more extensive than originally estimated according to coordinator Ed Hathaway. The second phase has cost $6.6 million with the State responsible for 10%. Operable Unit 3 The main contamination including groundwater issues will be addressed in OU3 according to a May 13 article in the Penobscot Bay Press. OU3 could cost up to $22 milion, five times the original cost  and take 10 years to complete     Beck, Fred S., Marine Challenges Encountered by a Small Mine on the Maine Coast 1970 Paper on the Callahan presented at Offshore Technology Conference Houston Texas . This paper reads almost like a lament, an apology and looks to collective standards for any future mining in or on Marine environments. Press Coverage 1968 “Maine Latest Mining Venture”,5823767&dq=callahan+mine+on+cape+rosier&hl=en This article describes the very early history of the Callahan including a special act of the legislature to make it possible to lease the intertidal zone at Cape Rosier for mining,   Governor Curtis’endorsement that this will open the  way for mining as a major focus of Maine’s economy and  praise  for Callahan Mining ,its environmental sensibilities and in particular its reclamation plan which will put the cove back as it was.,ar:1&source=newspapers 1979 Heavrin,Jean “Rock Pile Stunted Growth Are Legacy of Old Mine”  Bangor Daily News August 14, 1979,5635120 Callahan is reported as exempt from the mining reclamation law as it was already in operation ( the same provision is in Maine’s new mining rule and is one of the provisions I flagged in my still in process line by line analysis.  Callahan had given locals $1,000 to work with on consensus building on action to be taken to correct the situation. Details not referred to in the many  official documents on the superfund designation and reclamation plan  are included in these two articles. Callahan was actually leased from the state of Maine ( as it was in an intertidal zone)  The lease included a commitment for both the State of Maine and Callahan to perform a complete reclamation on cessation of mining. Fred Beck drew up the reclamation plan in 1972 A principal component of Fred Becks plan was breeching of the dam. By 1979 after a $253,000 expenditure on Fred Becks plan it was apparent that the reclamation plan had failed completely.  Federal Law Standards for reclamation and remediation and requirements for transparency were set forth in SARA ( 1986) The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) amended the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) on October 17, 1986. SARA reflected EPA’s experience in administering the complex Superfund program during its first six years and made several important changes and additions to the program. SARA:

  • stressed      the importance of permanent remedies and innovative treatment technologies in      cleaning up hazardous waste sites;
  • required      Superfund actions to consider the standards and requirements found in other State      and Federal environmental laws and regulations;
  • provided      new enforcement authorities and settlement tools;
  • increased State involvement in every phase of the      Superfund program;
  • increased      the focus on human health problems posed by hazardous waste sites;
  • encouraged greater citizen participation in making decisions on      how sites should be cleaned up; and
  • increased      the size of the trust fund to $8.5 billion.

SARA also required EPA to revise the Hazard Ranking System (HRS) to ensure that it accurately assessed the relative degree of risk to human health and the environment posed by uncontrolled hazardous waste sites that may be placed on the National Priorities List (NPL). Hazard Ranking System Purpose & Standards (See above Roy F. Weston did the 2001 Hazard Ranking analysis for the Callahan) “The Hazard Ranking System (HRS) is the principal mechanism EPA uses to place uncontrolled waste sites on the National Priorities List (NPL).” “HRS scores do not determine the priority in funding EPA remedial response actions, because the information collected to develop HRS scores is not sufficient to determine either the extent of contamination or the appropriate response for a particular site “EPA relies on more detailed studies in the remedial investigation/feasibility study which typically follows listing.” Technical Studies on Assessing Toxicity This presentation shows the complexities of choosing the appropriate methods and how much variation there is in methods manadated in regulations or preferred for specific situations. This very recent (2013 )overview is very helpful

About lindsaynewlandbowker

Bowker Associates, Science & Research In The Public Interest, is an independent non profit providing self initiated pro bono analysis on key issues with a potential for massive adverse environmental impact . Bowker Associates has been an internationally recognized and cited voice in analysis of the Samarco failure, its consequence, and the possibilties for recovery. In 2017 we partnered with Daveid M. Chambers, a world leader in responsible mining, in our third joint work on the economics of tailings failures. Bowker, L.N.; Chambers, D.M. In the Dark Shadow of the Supercycle Tailings Failure Risk & Public Liability Reach All Time Highs. Environments 2017, 4, 75. A peer reviewed journal published investigation of the cowboy economics of the supercycle and the resulting escalation on the number and magnitude of catastrophic failures. In 2016 we parnered with Dave Chambers in our 2nd joint work together looking at root causes of failures at a conference . Bowker, L.N.; Chambers, D.M. Root Causes of Tailings Management Failures: The Severity of Consequence of Failures Attributed to Overtopping 1915–2015. In Proceedings of the Protections 2016, Fort Collins, CO, USA, 14 June 2016. [Google Scholar] In 2015 Bowker Associates collaborated with geophysicist David M. Chambers to recompile global authoritative accounts of significant TSF failures in recorded history and to analyze these data in the context of global mining economics 1910-2010 ( Risk, Economics and Public Liability of TSF Failures, Bowker/Chambers July 2015) The third annual update of this globally referenced and used compilation was just released at Researchgate. ( In 2014 Bowker Associates commissioned globally respected geophysicist and hydrogeologist Dr. David Chambers to undertake two technical works: (1) development of technical go no go criteria for vetting mine applications tp:// and (2) a case study of Maine's Bald Mountain, an un mined low grade high risk VMS deposit demonstrating the efficacy and accuracy of two risk assessment tools in vetting mine proposals In Maine, Bowker Associates has deeply engaged and been a public voice in the Searsport DCP LPG Tank, The Cianbro proposal for a Private East West Toll Road, JD Irvings rolling pipeline of Bakken crude to its plant in St. John and review of Phase II plans at The Callahan Superfund site in Brooksville, Maine, and Maine's revisitation of mining in statute and regulation... Our only “client”: is always “the pubic interest”. Our model is to focus on only one or two issues at a time so that we have a substantive command of the relevant field as our foundation for ongoing engagement. Our core work is in envirommental risk management, science and technology as well as bringing any available “best practices” models to the fore. The legal and regulatory history/best models are also a major thrust of our work in building and evaluating public policy. Director/Principal Lindsay Newland Bowker, CPCU, ARM is a recognized expert in Environmental Risk Management., Heavy Construction Risk Management and Marine and Transit Risks and has more than 3 decades of engagement in buiding public policy. Appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo to New York State Banking Board (served 1986-1996); President New York Chapter Chartered Property and Casualty Insurers; Environmental Committee, Risk and Insurance Management Society; Director, Convenor/Co-Chair Bermuda Market Briefing "From Captive to Cats" Hamilton Bermuda. Published Articles of Significance The Risk Economics and Public Liability of Tailings Facility Failures, co-authored with David M. Chambers, July 2015 Beyond. Polarization: Superfund Reform in Perspective, Risk & Insurance Managing Risk For Loss Prevention & Cost Control (Jan. 24, 1997). Lead Hazards and Abatement Technologies in Construction: A Risk Management Approach CPCU Journal 1997 Employee Leasing: Liability in Limbo Risk Management June 1 1997 Environmental Audit Privilege and the Public interest Risk & Insurance Managing Risk For Loss Prevention & Cost Control, April 1997 Asbestos:Holes In Abatement Policies Need To Be Plugged, Lloyd’s Environmental Risk International, May 1993 Editor Published Letters Evironmental Risk Management Beware of Facile Policies Like Fetal Protection Business Insurance 1995(?) High Court Review May Increase Sale of Bank Annuities Business Insurances August 8, 1995 Professional Profiles Protecting the Big Apple’s Core Managing Risk For Loss Prevention & Control December 1996 Major Career Highlights First rigorous analysis showing Relationship Between declining ore grades and TSF Failures of increasing consequence ( July 2015) FIrst Documentation that Gentrification Has Same Impacts as Unassisted Displacement from Urban Renewal Sites Direted Court Ordered EIS of FHA Mortgage Scandal Created Nation's First Homeownership Program for Low Income People (SHIP) Created Earliest Geographic Information Systems Using Defense Technology Developed By IBM Designed and Conducted Parallel Census Count to Show Systematic undercount in minority neighborhoods Documented Bias in ISO Territory Rating Plans for Private Passenger Auto Insurance Using ISO's own Rating Techniques Demonstrated Inherent Bias in Mortgage Policies of Banks With Inner City Branches Demonstrated that NY Telephones Plan for Area Code Split To accommodate anticipated cell phone demand was not efficient and would exhaust in 5 years ( which it did) Undertook First Systematic Evaluation of Child Protective Services Caseload Using Multi Variate Analyic Techniques Developed Child Protective Caseload Management and Tracking System (CANTS) and directed implementation in 4 client states including Illinois, Florida and New York Created and Ran Office of Risk Management for NYC DEP the Nations largest Water & Sewer Authority . Designed, Created and Administered Nation's First Owner Controlled Insurance Program (OCIP)for High Risk Tunneling Education Masters NYU Graduate School of Public Administration BSC New School For Social Research Maine Public Schools Deering High School
This entry was posted in Callahan Mine Brooksville Maine, Callahan Mine History, Callahan Mine NPRS-S ploy, Callahan Mine Superfund Site, Fred M. Beck, History of Mining In Maine, John Seal USGS, Maine Mining Regulations, Maine Mining Statute, massive sulfide risk management, Metallic Mining, metallic mining zoning ordinances, Mining In Tidal Estuary, NPR-S Plot, Robert Seal, volcanogenic massive sulfide, Zoining and Landuse for Metallic Mining and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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