Drone, Super Fund Site

The EPA announced Monday it will remove the majority of the 87-acre Bozeman superfund site from the national contamination list.

Drone, Super Fund Site

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that it is removing a portion of a former wood-treatment facility in northeast Bozeman from the list of Superfund sites despite concerns from local officials.

The EPA and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality said in a news release that they have determined all required cleanup is complete for some of the soils on 82 of the 87 acres near Cedar Street that was operated by the Idaho Pole Company until 1997.

No additional work is needed to protect human health and the environment in that area and it can now “be safely reused consistent with local interest in commercial and industrial redevelopment,” the EPA said in the release.

The Gallatin City-County Board of Health and the Gallatin Local Water Quality District have repeatedly voiced concerns about whether the site has been sufficiently cleaned and have said the EPA didn’t adequately work with local government officials to ensure redevelopment is safe.

The board of health and the water quality district did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

The EPA also released on Monday responses to comments it received about removing the site from the Superfund list. In a 20-page document, EPA project manager Roger Hoogerheide detailed the testing, data analysis and public outreach done over the last several years and how those actions led the federal agency to conclude the site is ready for redevelopment.

The EPA designated the area as a Superfund site in 1986. Wood treatment on the property and the Northern Pacific Railroad’s storage building on the site contributed to soil and groundwater contamination by pentachlorophenol and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Beginning in 1992, the EPA began cleaning the Idaho Pole site, which included excavating contaminated soils and treating them on-site with microscopic organisms. Once treated, the soils were placed beneath a protective cover in a 4.5-acre area. The delisted portion of the site excludes the area where the treated soils were placed.

The EPA proposed the partial deletion of the Idaho Pole site from the National Priorities List on July 19. At the time, Hoogerheide said the EPA was proposing to remove part of the Idaho Pole property from the Superfund list because the area is of interest to developers and the Trump administration has prioritized delisting sites.

In response to the EPA’s proposal, the City-County Board of Health and the Gallatin Local Water Quality District voiced numerous concerns, which they brought to Hoogerheide at a meeting in August.

The EPA received so many comments that it extended the comment period on the proposed removal from mid-August to September and held a second meeting in Bozeman in October. At that meeting, about 30 people questioned them about the remediation work.

Even with Monday’s partial delisting, the EPA will continue to evaluate the Idaho Pole site every five years to ensure it remains clean.

“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,” said EPA regional administrator Gregory Sopkin in the news release.

Perrin Stein can be reached at pstein@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2648.

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