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Environment & Science

Cleanup Options Released For Contaminated Columbia Falls Superfund Site

The Environmental Protection Agency designated the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company as an official Superfund site in September 2016.
The Environmental Protection Agency designated the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company as an official Superfund site in September 2016.

Federal environmental regulators have released a list of options to clean up the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company superfund site in northwest Montana.

The feasibility study report assembled by the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency details possible ways to clean up the soils and groundwater contaminated by a former aluminum smelter. 

CFAC Project Manager John Stroiazzo says all of the options listed in the report meet EPA cleanup criteria and are scored based on agency standards.

“So for example, [with] soil contamination, there’s going to be some excavation and consolidation that’s listed as an option,” Stroiazzo says.

Stroiazzo says under the highest scoring option, contaminated soils and sediments would likely be consolidated into one of the landfills on the site and recapped. 

He says the west landfill and an adjacent holding pond are the main sources of groundwater contamination. The highest scoring option to remediate that issue is a slurry wall that would create an impermeable barrier around the landfill to prevent future leaching.

Ken Champagne, the CFAC Remedial Project Manager with the EPA, says the agency will select options listed in the report and a proposed plan to clean up the site will be put out for public comment this fall.

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