In a deal reached between Anaconda-Deer Lodge County and Atlantic Richfield Co. Tuesday, the former oil company is picking up a tab estimated at $660,000 for Old Works Golf Course due to July’s catastrophic flood.
Over the span of about 20 minutes on the evening of July 15, .77 inches of rain fell at the world-class Jack Nicklaus-designed course, causing significant damage to the course. Old Works had to close eight holes at first, and the damage hurt the Jack Nicklaus-designed course economically.
The county and Atlantic Richfield reached an agreement Tuesday on repair work and reimbursement for lost green fees. Atlantic Richfield has already spent $87,892 on equipment and materials and $5,193 on labor costs, but has agreed to cover a total of up to $250,000 in equipment and materials and $50,000 in labor.
The company is also reimbursing Old Works up to $210,000 for the economic loss of green fee revenue, plus operations and management costs until the end of October if the county determines that much is necessary. The former oil company also agreed to shave off $100,000 on the $1.2 million loan the county owes Atlantic Richfield, as well as adding $50,000 to the golf course's reserve fund.
All the holes are now open but, according to Commissioner Terry Vermeire, the sludge that came off the hillside above the course was 18 inches to two feet deep in some spots. The silt and sediment almost covered the ball washer at the end of Hole 3. Thousands of bricks from Anaconda’s first smelter washed down onto the course. Rocks the size of bowling balls rolled onto the course. An arch along the side of the fairway was destroyed.
“We got one hole back at a time,” Anaconda-Deer Lodge County Chief Executive Bill Everett said by phone Tuesday.
Anaconda-Deer Lodge County Council of Commissioners voted unanimously during a special session Tuesday evening in favor of the agreement.
Everett called the agreement with Atlantic Richfield “a small victory.”
Vermeire said the entire course is now playable. But it won’t be completely back to normal until next year’s spring season.
“It’s not at that Jack Nicklaus caliber until we get the sodding redone on Hole 3,” Vermeire said.
Atlantic Richfield will also have to flush the underdrain piping system to determine if any of the pipes below were adversely affected. The golf course is a “waste in place” solution to years of smelter waste. The golf course acts as a protective cap over arsenic and other metals in the soil. A complex pipe system beneath the course helps protect nearby Warm Springs Creek from contaminated storm water.
Atlantic Richfield spokesperson, Brett Clanton, said via email that the company “is assisting the county to repair damage at the Old Works Golf Course” caused by the storm.
“Through a joint effort between Atlantic Richfield and the county, repair work already has been performed in order to minimize impact at the course,” Clanton said.