Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Golf course cleanup on horizon

by Brad Fuqua & Western News
| June 16, 2009 12:00 AM

Environmental Protection Agency officials met last week with officials from the privately-owned Cabinet View Country Club to discuss options for a cleanup.

Mike Cirian, EPA field leader in Libby, said walk-throughs were scheduled for this week with tentative plans calling for the work to begin in mid-August. Since the plans involve a private entity, Cirian could not release details. But Lincoln County commissioner John Konzen mentioned last week in a meeting with the EPA that the project looked good.

“I like the plan you have with the golf course and think it can be extended into other areas … cutting off the source, eliminating it, cleaning it up and maximizing the dollars,” Konzen said. “As a delegation, we see good movement.”

Walk-throughs out at two creek sites were also on the EPA’s agenda this week. The initial designs on three cleanup sites on Pipe Creek and Libby Creek were completed.

On Pipe Creek, two separate work sites – measuring 300 feet and the other 100 to 150 feet – involve rocks that need to be removed. On the site at Libby Creek, Cirian said rocks would be removed and replaced.

Cirian said work on the creeks must be finished by the end of September while flows are low. The agency is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks on issues, including timeframes.

In other news from the EPA:

• The EPA’s testing on the Stinger Welding site within Kootenai Business Park wrapped up one day ahead of schedule. Cirian said the project had been running several days ahead of time but excavation work took longer than expected. Commissioners expressed their gratitude for the quick response.

“We don’t want to be the third-largest employer in Libby any longer,” Cirian said.

• The EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are now partnering on cleanups in a move designed to allow the Superfund process to move along at a more productive rate.

“What we’re looking at potentially is doing less investigation and design work and doing more removal,” Cirian explained.

• Victor Ketellapper, Libby team leader, said a public meeting is in the works for June 22 (7-9 p.m., Little Theater) to give updates on progress.

• The EPA announced that they are looking at designating highways as operable unit 8. The OU would follow protocol for investigating highways and transportation corridors, similar to what has been done with the railroad.

• As of the middle of last week, 17 properties had been cleaned up for the year with 18 ongoing. The overall number of cleanups to date pushed up to 1,120.

• Ketellapper announced that the EPA will be notified in the future as part of the “Call Before You Dig” program in Libby. Known as “UDIG,” the program will let the EPA know about any local excavation projects so they can offer their input and add a “layer of notification to reduce exposure,” Ketellapper said.

• Ketellapper received a positive response from commissioners on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s desire to study the Libby area and present ideas for growth and economic development. The study involves no cost to Lincoln County. MIT – a prestigious academic institution in Boston – would complete the study over the 2010 fall semester and include graduate students and master’s and doctoral candidates. A number of faculty would also participate.

• Cirian said the EPA hopes to begin activity-based sampling at Libby school sites in August.

• The EPA announced that toxicologist David Berry will join the Region 8 team in July. Berry, who is currently in California, will replace Aubrey Miller.