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Columbia Falls Aluminum Pollution Evaluation Released

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

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.

Publication of the evaluation wraps up seven-months of sampling and analysis. Crews collected more than 700 samples and installed 44 monitoring wells to help develop a roadmap for what needs to happen next in terms of cleanup.

The former aluminum smelter was named a Superfund site last September. At the time the EPA said contamination concerns included fluoride, cyanide and various metals. That contamination threatens a fishery containing federally protected bull trout and west slope cutthroat trout.

Columbia Falls Aluminum Company will present their findings at a public meeting on Wednesday, April 19, at a location to be announced.

This is just the first part of the evaluation and clean-up process at CFAC, which is expected to take another four years.

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