MTPR

Columbia Falls Aluminum Company

Outside of th CFAC Superfund Site in Columbia Falls.
Nicky Ouellet

Shannon Stringer has an opinion that’s not entirely popular in Columbia Falls.

“I do. I've gotten into heated discussions with other people in the community, including fellow co-workers, that are totally opposite,” he said.

Stringer thinks it’s a good thing that the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company was listed as a Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency last September.

The Environmental Protection Agency designated the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company as an official Superfund site in September 2016.
Courtesy Columbia Falls Aluminum Company

The company responsible for cleanup at the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company Superfund site released results of their site evaluation on Thursday. 

The evaluation confirms that groundwater beneath the former aluminum smelter facility has elevated levels of cyanide, fluoride and other contaminants, leached from legacy landfills used from 1955 until 1980. The studies also indicate that the contamination is not moving toward wells used for drinking water in nearby neighborhoods.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Courtesy EPA

There’s some good news in the latest sampling for contaminants at the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company site on the Flathead River. That’s according to Mike Cirian with the Environmental Protection Agency.

"There wasn’t anything out there that we didn’t expect, and there's no urgent or emergency type responses needed at this time," Cirian says.

The Environmental Protection Agency designated the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company as an official Superfund site in September 2016.
Courtesy Columbia Falls Aluminum Company

Local businesses got an update today on the cleanup at the former Columbia Falls aluminum plant. The plant was listed as a superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency last month.

The Environmental Protection Agency designated the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company as an official Superfund site in September 2016.
Courtesy Columbia Falls Aluminum Company

The Environmental Protection Agency today designated the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company as an official Superfund site.

Swiss commodities firm Glencore announced the former smelter would be permanently shuttered back in the spring of 2015.

A Calbag Resources sign at an October 2015 meeting shows some of the work in progress at the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company.
Corin Cates-Carney

Last week, the Department of Environmental Quality approved a plan to remove hazardous waste at the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company in preparation for the plant’s demolition.

Columbia Falls Aluminum Company
Courtesy Columbia Falls Aluminum Company

The Columbia Falls Aluminum Company (CFAC) reached a deal with the Environmental Protection Agency yesterday to begin investigating cleanup options for the former aluminum smelter. CFAC officials hope their work will be good enough to avoid a Superfund listing.

The Environmental Protection Agency today designated the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company as an official Superfund site.
Corin Cates-Carney

The Environmental Protection Agency announced an agreement today about the clean-up of the Columbia Falls Aluminum Plant. 

The Environmental Protection Agency today designated the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company as an official Superfund site.
Corin Cates-Carney

The Columbia Falls Aluminum Company, or CFAC, closed its doors permanently this spring after the plant hadn’t fully operated since 2009.

Now, the company, private contractors, the Environmental Protection Agency and members of the community are talking about how to begin to cleaning up the old aluminum plant, where cyanide, fluoride and other metals have been detected in the soil.

Columbia Falls Aluminum Company
Courtesy Columbia Falls Aluminum Company

An open house on the process of cleaning up the shutdown Columbia Falls Aluminum plant happens Thursday evening.

The Columba Falls Aluminum Company, or CFAC, permanently closed this spring after the plant hadn’t fully operated since 2009. CFAC is in talks with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about how to begin cleanup.

Columbia Falls Aluminum Company
Courtesy Columbia Falls Aluminum Company

Anyone living near the closed Columbia Falls Aluminum Company smelter has a chance Wednesday night to help the Environmental Protection Agency determine whether the plant belongs on the list of sites eligible for "Superfund" cleanup funds. The EPA is holding an open house starting at 7:00 Wednesday at the Columbia Falls City Hall.

Columbia Falls Aluminum Company
Courtesy Columbia Falls Aluminum Company

The Environmental Protection Agency now formally proposes adding the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company to the National Superfund List.

That makes the former smelter eligible for additional study and cleanup resources.

Cyanide, fluoride and various metals have been detected in soils, surface ponds and groundwater at the now-closed Columbia Falls smelter. That's why city manager, Susan Nicosia, supports the EPA's proposal to add the site to its priorities list.

Columbia Falls Aluminum Company
Courtesy Columbia Falls Aluminum Company

Columbia Falls may know by autumn whether the now-closed aluminum smelter there will become a Superfund site.

Last Tuesday the owners of the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company announced the smelter is permanently closing.

The next day the Environmental Protection Agency notified Governor Steve Bullock it proposes to add the plant to its priority list of industrial sites that should be cleaned.

Columbia Falls Aluminum Company
Courtesy Columbia Falls Aluminum Company

To many Columbia Falls residents the full closure of the local aluminum smelter was more a matter of when than if.

That question was answered with certainty this week when Columbia Falls Aluminum Company announced that it's permanently shuttering the plant.

Local real estate agent Bill Dakin say this development was a long time coming.

"This announcement, finally, an honest announcement that this plant will never refine aluminum again, is kind of a new day here."

The Environmental Protection Agency designated the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company as an official Superfund site in September 2016.
Courtesy Columbia Falls Aluminum Company

Columbia Falls Aluminum Company announced Tuesday it’s permanently closing its doors. The plant stopped production in 2009 during the height of the recession. The company was once a major employer in the Flathead Valley.

A skeleton crew has maintained Columbia Falls Aluminum Company for over 5 years as officials waited for the right time to reopen.

Word came this week that time will never come.

Company spokesman Haley Beaudry says several factors sealed the plant's fate including increased global competition and continued depressed aluminum prices.