Montana Environmental Trust Group’s Creek Realignment Project Wins National Engineering Excellence Award

Washington, DC (May 13, 2019) – Montana Environmental Trust Group, LLC, as trustee of the Montana Environmental Custodial Trust, and its contractor Pioneer Technical Services received a 2019 national Grand Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) for the Prickly Pear Creek realignment in East Helena, Montana.

Montana Environmental Trust Group’s (METG) Prickly Pear Creek relocation project won a national Grand Award in Engineering Excellence in the environmental category from ACEC. METG teamed with Pioneer Technical Services, Inc. to realign more than a mile of Prickly Pear Creek in East Helena in order to reduce groundwater contamination and the potential migration of contaminants.

“We are honored to receive this prestigious award from ACEC,” said Cindy Brooks, managing principal of METG and president of its parent company, Greenfield Environmental Trust Group, Inc. “We take pride in what our team has accomplished in East Helena, especially knowing that the creek realignment safeguards the community and its drinking water supply and environment and provides a natural resource that will benefit the community for generations.”

The project team excavated, dried and delivered more than 1 million cubic yards of saturated reservoir sediments, slag and other materials to the East Helena Superfund Site. The project protects human health and the environment by permanently reducing groundwater contamination and isolating the massive, eroding, 16-million-ton slag pile on the East Helena Site without need for future pumping or maintenance. The work has established a natural-functioning stream, creating 50 acres of new wetlands, enhanced habitat for fish and wildlife, and 100 acres of new floodplain to mitigate downstream flooding.

METG and Pioneer Technical Services, of Helena, MT, were honored, alongside 15 other national award winners, at the ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards Gala in Washington, DC on May 7, 2019. METG’s national award follows the 2019 ACEC-Montana award that was presented to METG and Pioneer for engineering excellence in the environmental category for the Prickly Pear Creek project in November 2018.

METG is the court-appointed trustee of the Montana Environmental Custodial Trust, which was established in 2009 as part of the ASARCO bankruptcy settlement. METG is responsible for owning, remediating and redeveloping thousands of acres once owned by ASARCO. For eight years, METG has worked to address soil, sediment and groundwater contamination left behind by more than a century of lead smelting.

The Prickly Pear Creek realignment is a cornerstone of METG’s remediation and restoration efforts in East Helena. The creek realignment made immediate and lasting contributions to the Site cleanup and the East Helena community revitalization.

The project realigned a 1.25-mile stretch of stream away from contamination and was completed in four main phases of work. First, a bypass channel was created to temporarily divert the creek flow. The next phase included drainage and excavation of the creek, followed by reconstruction of the new creek bed and building an earth berm to stabilize the nearby eroding slag pile. Prickly Pear Creek flow was then diverted to the new creek bed. Lastly, the wetlands were reconstructed and the bypass channel was reclaimed.

About the Montana Environmental Trust Group

The Montana Environmental Trust Group, LLC (METG), as trustee of the Montana Environmental Custodial Trust (the Custodial Trust), was established in 2009 as part of the global settlement of the ASARCO bankruptcy.

The Custodial Trust’s responsibilities include owning, administering and remediating two federal and two state hazardous waste sites in Montana: the 2,000-acre East Helena Superfund Site as well as hundreds of mine-scarred acres at the Upper Blackfoot Mining Complex/Mike Horse Mine, the Black Pine Mine and the Iron Mountain/Flat Creek mining area. The Custodial Trust received $138 million to remediate and facilitate reuse of the four sites. The Custodial Trust has been managing remedial actions that have included construction of a sustainable cover system—the largest of its type in the country—and excavation of tons of contaminated material, as well as relocation of Prickly Pear Creek.

The Custodial Trust’s primary role is to protect human health and the environment in partnership with its beneficiaries—the United States, acting through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the State of Montana, acting through the Montana Department of Environmental Quality —and with community stakeholders.

Greenfield Environmental Trust Group, Inc. is the parent company of METG.

Visit the METG website at Learn more about the Prickly Pear Creek project here.

Media Contact: Christine Amrhine, Montana Environmental Trust Group, LLC (METG), trustee of the Montana Environmental Custodial Trust (Custodial Trust), 540-846-3163,

View PDF

awardsAnna Novikova