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FMC Corporation to begin Superfund cleanup at former phosphorus processing plant near Pocatello, Idaho

Release Date: 06/11/2013
Contact Information: Mark MacIntyre, EPA-Seattle, 206-553-7302,

(Seattle – June 11, 2013) The FMC Corporation will begin cleanup work at the former FMC facility near Pocatello under a Unilateral Administrative Order (UAO) from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Order outlines a schedule and other terms which will guide the implementation of the cleanup work outlined in the Interim Record of Decision issued last year.

The FMC facility lies within Eastern Michaud Flats Superfund Site and occupies more than one thousand acres of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes’ Fort Hall Reservation. The primary contaminants of concern at the site are arsenic, elemental phosphorous and gamma radiation. The actions FMC will execute under the Order are expected to cost close to $57 million and be completed in 3 to 5 years. Because contamination will be left in place under protective covers, monitoring and maintenance will be required far into the future.

“This Order paves the way for FMC to address the contamination at the former FMC facility,” said Rick Albright, Director of EPA’s Superfund Office in Seattle. “FMC will immediately begin the engineering design work and we hope to see heavy equipment on site and working by next summer.”

EPA’s UAO requires FMC to design, implement and pay for the actions specified in the September 2012 Interim Record of Decision Amendment (IRODA) ( under oversight by EPA, the State of Idaho and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. Specific requirements include:

  • Development of detailed technical plans and specifications for the cleanup actions.
  • Construction of engineered covers over contaminated soil.
  • Treatment of groundwater to prevent contaminants from migrating toward the Portneuf River.
Contamination at the FMC facility is the result of 50 years of elemental phosphorus processing which began in 1949 and ended with the closure of the facility in 2001. Elemental phosphorus from spills and process leaks has been detected as deep as 85 feet below the surface. Elemental phosphorous is very unstable and can burn uncontrollably when exposed to air, emitting toxic gases. Slag, a process byproduct stored onsite in mountainous piles, also emits gamma radiation.

EPA will continue to monitor the soil, air and groundwater to ensure the remedies outlined in this new cleanup plan are protective of people and the environment into the future.

For more information about the former FMC plant, visit: