Missoulian: EPA to begin evaluation of closed Columbia Falls plant

The site assessment is in response to a letter from U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus requesting an evaluation of the 120-acre industrial area, which has not been inspected since 1988 and may pose a threat to the community and jeopardize future economic development.

The Democratic senators urged the EPA to study contamination levels at the plant, which has been closed since 2009, to determine whether it should be declared a Superfund site – a designation that could create new jobs cleaning up hazardous materials and support new business opportunities for the region’s economy, the senators said.

Officials with the EPA and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality agreed that an inspection of the smelter plant was overdue.