The owner of the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company has hired a private salvage and repurposing firm based out of Portland, Oregon to demolish the shuttered plant site along the Flathead River.
The plant, located just north of Columbia Falls, has been proposed for listing by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the federal Superfund program’s National Priorities List.
CFAC officials announced the plant had permanently closed in March after years of failed efforts to reopen the aluminum reduction facility.
The site’s owner, Glencore, a Swiss commodities firm, has never explained what it wishes to do with the site. And while company officials say they are committed to a “long-term, sustainable solution” for the shuttered plant, they have opposed Superfund listing.
Haley Beaudry, a spokesman for CFAC, said in a press release that the company selected Calbag, an industry leader in decommissioning industrial sites, after thoroughly vetting several potential contractors.
Calbag has successfully decommissioned and “repurposed” other aluminum smelters, including one in The Dalles, Ore., which is complete and repurposed for commercial, business and retail development, Beaudry said.
The plan calls for Calbag to mobilize this spring and begin its on-site work immediately. The current schedule requires Calbag to complete its contracted scope of work within two to three years.
“CFAC is pleased to be moving this process forward,” said Steve Wright, CFAC environmental manager. “We understand the people of Columbia Falls want to see action at the site, and this is our first major step in that direction.”
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