Aluminum Smelter Superfund Site

Aluminum Company; Montana

OBJECTIVES

Roux is performing a multimillion-dollar Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) at a 1,300-acre former aluminum reduction facility (commonly referred to as an aluminum smelter) in Columbia Falls, Montana. Roux was hired as the primary environmental consultant in 2015 to perform a complex site assessment and risk assessment in accordance with United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Superfund guidance, including evaluation of the USEPA hazard ranking system scoring of the Site, scoping of the RI/FS, development of the RI/FS Work Plan, and performance of the RI/FS at the Site.

The Site operated as an aluminum smelter from 1955 until 2009. Solid waste generated by the aluminum production process was primarily disposed in on-site landfills; spent pot liner was disposed on-site until it was classified as a hazardous waste by the USEPA in 1990, and then it was shipped off-site for disposal as K088-listed hazardous waste at permitted hazardous waste landfills. Aluminum production at the Site was suspended in 2009 due to a downturn in aluminum market conditions, and the facility permanently closed in March 2015. Since that time, the client has completed decommissioning and demolition activities of the Site buildings, and implementation of the RI/FS began in November 2015.

The Site includes seven closed landfills, one active landfill, two closed leachate ponds, and several wastewater percolation ponds. The technical scope of work of the Phase I Site Characterization conducted from 2016 through 2017 included a geophysical survey of the landfills, landfill soil gas surveys, drilling of 95 soil borings, and installation of 43 monitoring wells, including 17 deep monitoring wells up to 300 feet in depth. The program included collection of approximately 750 samples for laboratory analysis from various media, including soil, sediment, surface water, and groundwater. A Phase II Site Characterization to fill remaining data gaps was completed in 2018.

Baseline Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessments were completed in 2018/2019. A Remedial Investigation Report was completed in 2019 documenting the results of the Site Characterization and Risk Assessments. A Feasibility Study Work Plan was completed in 2020. Roux is currently preparing a Feasibility Study Report to address six Decision Units, which is expected to be finalized in 2021. Separately, Roux has assisted with the planning and implementation of an early removal action at former wastewater percolation ponds. All work has been conducted pursuant to strict Consent Order deadlines and has required review and approval from both the USEPA and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). Read more

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PROJECT DETAILS
Location

Columbia Falls, Montana

Client

Aluminum Company

Services

Remedial Investigation

Feasibility Study

Geophysical Surveys

Soil Gas Surveys

Ground-penetrating Radar (GPR)

Soil Sampling

Groundwater Monitoring Well Installation

Asbestos Landfill Test Pitting

Borrow Pit Area Test Pitting

Ecological Assessment

Surface and Groundwater Sampling