EPA delists OU2; OU3 meeting April 24

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The Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday that they have officially deleted Operable Unit 2 from the National Priorities List.

According to the release, “EPA and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality have determined that all required cleanup activities are complete in the Operable Unit 2 (OU2) area for deletion.”

Operable Unit 2 includes 45 acres that were identified as being affected by the former screening plant. They include, “the former plant, the Flyway property, the Highway 37 right-of-way next to the former screening plant and Rainy Creek Road and privately-owned properties,” according to the EPA release.

At the March 13 meeting of the City-County Board of Health, Noah Pyle, the departing Asbestos Resource Program director, submitted a letter he was entering as the end of the public comment period approached for OU2.

Pyle noted that he had no objections to the delisting, but had concerns he wanted, “recorded as this OU moved to a ‘less active’ category.”

Those included that the operations and maintenance plan for the unit should be updated to be consistent with site-wide provisions, the potential that too little was budgeted for the unit and should be annually reviewed, and that Rainy Creek effluent data be reviewed annually.

Current ARP Director Virginia Kocieda said that the concerns with Rainy Creek monitoring relates to the potential for disturbance in OU3 — which is upstream — altering conditions in OU2.

“It was towards the end of the public comment period, and he wanted to make sure that we put in something to say, these are some of the concerns that should be thought of or kept alive,” she said.

Kocieda said she did not know of any response from the EPA to the comments.

The EPA also announced a meeting to discuss OU3. That meeting will take place on Wednesday, April 24 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the K.W. Maki Theatre.

The topics listed in the EPA release for the April 24 meeting are: a presentation by the EPA and W.R. Grace about OU3, including background information and updates; Updates on fire season planning and preparations with the U.S. Forest Service and Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation; and an update from W.R. Grace on dam safety work.

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