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Remediation Work Begins At Columbia Falls Aluminum Superfund Site

Outside of th CFAC Superfund Site in Columbia Falls, MT.
Nicky Ouellet
Montana Public Radio
Outside of th CFAC Superfund Site in Columbia Falls, MT.

Work to prevent harmful sediment from flowing into the Flathead River from a former aluminum plant will begin this fall. This is the first remediation project to take place at the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company Superfund site.

CFAC Project Manager John Stroiazzo says the Flathead River is slowly eroding away the banks of two ponds used by the now defunct aluminum company. The ponds contain harmful sediment.

"We don’t think that these ponds will last another two years."

That’s why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the work ahead of schedule. The two-year project, which will begin this fall, also includes the removal of dams that will return the Flathead River to its original channel.

Studies determining the level of contamination and what remedial action needs to be taken in the remaining units of the superfund site are still ongoing. Stroiazzo says work to remove contaminants in those units could begin in about three years.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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