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Contaminates found on Columbia Falls Aluminum Co. property

By Paige Sedgewick, Reporter, psedgewick@kcfw.com
Published On: Apr 15 2014 10:44:28 PM MDT
COLUMBIA FALLS, Mont. -

Government officials say recent tests turned up contaminates in the water on and near the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company site. Tonight, state and federal officials met with residents to talk about taking steps to declare it a Superfund site. 

A recent environmental protection agency study turned up small amounts of cyanide in water near the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company site.

"It is eligible for the national priority list. We did find contamination in the ground water at the site itself, as well as in a nearby residential area,” said Rob Parker, EPA Site Manager.

The EPA tested five residential wells near the CFAC site. Results indicate two contained cyanide, but at small enough levels to be still considered safe under the safe drinking water act limits. 

However, water on the CFAC property contained higher levels of contaminates, according to the EPA study.

"Contamination found on site in ground water that were above health water and regulatory drinking water standards, fortunately no one is consuming that water which is located at the facility itself," said Parker.

What's next?

"A possible next step from an EPA's perspective would be to propose the site to the national priority list. Once done, the remedial investigation can begin," continued Parker.  

A remedial investigation will determine the extent of contamination and to determine the future risk that may be involved due to this contamination. At the meeting many community members addressed their concerns.

Both the EPA and the DEQ want to clean up the site but right now they don't have the funding. They are waiting for the community of Columbia Falls support before they go forward with declaring the site a Superfund project.

The EPA said that they want to have an on-going feedback and discussion with the community moving forward on this project.