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EPA deletes portion of Idaho Pole Company site in Gallatin County, Montana from Superfund list

02/03/2020
Contact Information: 
Richard Mylott (Mylott.Richard@epa.gov)
303-312-6654

Bozeman, Mont.  -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the deletion of 82 acres of the Idaho Pole Company Superfund site in Gallatin County, Montana, from the National Priorities List (NPL) of the nation’s most contaminated sites. EPA and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) have determined that all required cleanup activities are complete in the area. EPA proposed and solicited public comments on this action as part of a comment period that closed on September 6, 2019.

“The deletion of this 82-acre area from the National Priorities List reflects decades of cleanup actions, data collection, risk evaluation and public outreach conducted in coordination with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality,” said EPA Regional Administrator Gregory Sopkin. “We emphasize that the deleted portion of the site will be actively monitored and inspected to secure public health, and the undeleted portions of the site will continue to be treated as before under the Superfund law.  EPA appreciates working with our state and local partners to successfully clean up these properties and looks forward to their productive reuse.”

EPA placed the Idaho Pole Company site on the NPL in 1986 due to contamination, mainly pentachlorophenol and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, associated with a historic wood- treating facility that operated from 1945 to 1997. In addition, the Northern Pacific Railroad operated a five-stall roundhouse and storage facility on site from approximately 1883 to 1945. In 1992, EPA selected a cleanup remedy for soil and groundwater which included excavating contaminated soils and using indigenous microscopic organisms to treat the soils on site. These treated soils were placed on site with a protective soil cover in a 4.5-acre “Treated Soils Area” located above historic groundwater levels. In total, approximately 24,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil were excavated and successfully treated at the site.

With today’s action, EPA is deleting more than 82 acres of surface and unsaturated subsurface soils at the site outside of the 4.5 acre Treated Soils Area.  This determination is based on a determination that completed cleanup actions are protective and no further actions are needed to protect human health and the environment. This determination is also based on extensive sampling data and analyses of surface, subsurface and saturated soils completed over the past decades, and as recently as last year. The deletion paves the way for the area to be safely reused consistent with local interest in commercial and industrial redevelopment as well as the land and groundwater use restrictions that are placed on the site.

Portions of the Idaho Pole site that are not proposed for deletion include groundwater, Treated Soils Area, sediments, and saturated subsurface soils that still pose a risk to human health and environment. The Treated Soils Area and a Controlled Groundwater Area, which restricts groundwater use at the site, will remain on the NPL. A Notice of Institutional Control applies covenants, conditions and restrictions on Idaho Pole property. The intent of the Institutional Controls is to ensure the permanent preservation and maintenance of remedy, including the 4.5 acre Treated Soils Area, that are required to minimize potential for human exposure to contaminated soil and to protect the integrity of the soil and groundwater remedies. The groundwater component of the remedy includes the ongoing operation and maintenance of contaminated saturated soils and groundwater.

EPA will continue to secure public health at the site. EPA and MDEQ will play active roles in monitoring and responding to any concerns related to site conditions, at both deleted portions of the site and areas that remain on the NPL. This includes comprehensive five-year reviews of the remedies in place as well as the regular evaluation of institutional controls and periodic site inspections designed to protect those working at and visiting the site. The next five-year review will be completed this year.   

The Idaho Pole Company Superfund site is located in Gallatin County and northern portions of the City of Bozeman. The site occupies approximately 87 acres in the east half of Section 6 and the west half of Section 5, Township 2S, Range 6E of Gallatin County. The site is bounded by the Montana Rail Link railroad tracks to the south, L Street to the west and Rocky Creek to the east and north of the site. Interstate 90, Bohart Lane and Cedar Street traverse the site in an east-west direction.

For more information on the Idaho Pole site visit: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/idaho-pole