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Pole plant cleanup
The Montana Pole Treatment Plant cleanup area is seen in the foreground of this recent photograph. The area is located south of Silver Bow Creek, and west of Montana Street in Butte. Much of the 200,000 cubic yards of soils have been treated on site and put back in place. About 45,000 cubic yards of contaminated soils remain and will be treated in the coming years, according to a state spokesman.

More than 200,000 cubic yards of contaminated soils have been excavated from a former wood-treatment facility that operated along Silver Bow Creek in Butte.

State and federal environmental officials began work at the Montana Pole Treatment Plant Superfund site nearly 15 years ago, and the project is expected to continue into the coming years.

The public will have an opportunity to hear about the

project's history and ongoing efforts to remediate toxic soils and treat groundwater in the area during a presentation in Butte.

Lisa DeWitt, the site's project officer for the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, is scheduled to discuss the project at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 20, at the Butte-Silver Bow Public Library, 226 W. Broadway.

A wood treating facility operated at the site from 1946 to 1984 and soils and groundwater are contaminated with pentachlorophenol, a preservative still used on wood, and other toxins, she said.

The area was designated a Superfund site in 1987, with a record of decision issued in 1993, DeWitt said. A consent decree

outlining the final cleanup for the site was completed in 1996,

clearing the way for work to begin to remove contaminants.

The DEQ is working with the federal Environmental Protection Agency on the project.

DeWitt said much of the 200,000 cubic yards of soils have been treated on site and put back in place.

She estimates that about 45,000 cubic yards of contaminated soils remain and will be treated in the coming years.

It's unknown when the project will be complete, DeWitt said.

Groundwater from the area also is being collected and treated before being pumped into Silver Bow Creek, she said.

"It's probably going to take some time to get everything cleaned up," DeWitt said.

The site is located near Butte-Silver Bow's wastewater treatment plant on the south side of Silver Bow Creek.

The ongoing Interstate 15-90 bridge replacement project, which bisects the Superfund site, also will be discussed during the July 20 meeting.

The meeting is sponsored by the Citizens' Technical Environmental Committee, or CTEC, which manages a grant to fund public outreach.

This fall, more community-based public meetings will be held to gather public comments

regarding site clean-up activities.

Reporter Justin Post may be reached at justin.post@lee.net or by telephone, 496-5572.

 

 

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