Black Butte Mercury Mine Map

In early 2013, the EPA Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation began a pilot of the Partners in Technical Assistance Program (PTAP), to expand opportunities for cooperation between EPA and colleges, universities or nonprofits with the shared goal of assessing and addressing the unmet technical assistance needs of communities impacted by Superfund sites.

PTAP launched the first project with a school located near the Black Butte Mine Superfund Site in rural Cottage Grove, Oregon.

How We Got Started

The first PTAP pilot project began in late 2013 as a collaboration between the EPA, the London School in Cottage Grove, OR, and the Superfund Research Program at Oregon State University to institute a K-8 curriculum to educate students about mercury in the environment and the effects of mercury on human health.

Laurie Briggs at the London School's original bellListen to Laurie Briggs, Principal of London School in rural Cottage Grove, share about how the project got started.

The London School is a long-time fixture in the community and hosts events that draw several generations of families in the community, many of whom are also alumni of the school.

See photos of the school tour following the first meeting in December 2013.

Goals for this project

  • Delineate project roles and maintain communication through monthly meetings (in person or via conference calls)
  • Address community and educational needs.
    • Address the history of the mine
    • Address mercury contamination
    • Put together a package of project-based hands-on instruction, Inquiry-based curriculum
    • Enhance/showcase STEM careers
    • Serve as a model for other rural, small schools
    • Incorporate state standards
    • Discuss ways to educate the students and community and expand and build a sustainable partnership.
  • Provide training opportunities for SRP Trainees wanting outreach experience.