In southeast Tennessee, decades of extensive copper and sulfur mining degraded the once lush area known as the Copper Basin Mining District Site in Polk County. By the late 1800s, vegetation refused to grow, acidic conditions and leaching metals impaired the water quality and deforestation resulted in severe erosion. Abandoned and collapsing mine works and other deteriorating facilities and waste piles posed significant physical hazards. The area's ecosystem was in trouble.

Today, the water runs cleaner in the beautiful Ocoee River and the North Potato Creek watershed; fish and birds have returned; grass blows in the wind at the once denuded tailings pond; and now more than 100,000 new trees grace the once ravaged landscape surrounding the tailings pond.

This healing environment results from the monumental efforts of many dedicated individuals working together to restore the area's natural beauty. In a historic agreement by Glenn Springs Holdings, Inc. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Corporation), the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the clean up process continues, and responsible environmental stewardship is working. This is the story of the Copper Basin Project.



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