Friday, April 23, 2021

CFAC completes cleanup of ponds near river

Staff Report | April 7, 2021 7:55 AM

he Columbia Falls Aluminum Co. announced last week it had completed remediation work on old wastewater ponds that were adjacent to the Flathead River.

The sediments in the ponds showed high levels of barium, a byproduct of aluminum production, the Environmental Protection Agency had said previously.

Crews from Sandy Construction removed the first foot of soil from the ponds this fall when they were dry this fall and the dirt was hauled up the CFAC site and stored for burial in a landfill.

The final portion of work began in late February and removed a sheet pile wall and riprap bank

stabilization. The wall and riprap were in place to prevent the river from reaching the south percolation ponds area.

“We are extremely pleased with this work,” said, John Stroiazzo, project manager for CFAC.

“It was completed ahead of schedule. This early action is a benefit to the Flathead River and is another example of meeting our commitment.

Many thanks to our contractors – locals Sandry Construction, Morrison Maierle of Kalispell and Roux Associates – for a job well done.”

The ponds were constructed by former owner ACRO in the 1960s by damming off the northern channel of the Flathead River. During site operations, the South Percolation Ponds

were used to manage process wastewater and stormwater.

Now that the work is completed, the river, once the water rises this spring, will be able to flow back into the channels where the ponds are now.