CFAC Panel to Host Open House

Liaison group will address proposed remedial investigation at contaminated site

By Beacon Staff

The public is invited to an open house hosted by the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company Community Liaison Panel at Columbia Falls High School on Oct. 8 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Interested community members and officials are invited to meet those involved in the clean-up project and to discuss current efforts at the former aluminum plant, as well as ask questions and offer comments.

The open house will take place in the high school cafeteria and will include booth displays about the proposed Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study, former operations, demolition activities and regulatory oversight. The event will not include a formal presentation but will allow guests the opportunity to meet and talk directly with project representatives.

Members of the CFAC Community Liaison Panel represent various interests and serve as a cross-section of the Columbia Falls and Flathead County community. The group meets on a regular basis at a pre-announced location in Columbia Falls.

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed placing the CFAC site on the federal Superfund program’s National Priorities List.

The city of Columbia Falls, Gov. Steve Bullock, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and a host of local organizations support the move, CFAC and the company’s owner, Glencore, oppose listing. CFAC hired Roux Associates to develop its own work plan for the site.

The site operated as a primary aluminum reduction facility between 1955 and 2009. Contaminants detected at the site include cyanide, fluoride, and metals, such as arsenic, chromium, lead, and selenium. These contaminants are present in soils, surface ponds and groundwater and, if not addressed, could pose a risk to nearby wells and the Flathead River.

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