EPA Deletes Portions of Libby, Montana from Superfund List
EPA deletion of the Libby Asbestos Superfund site from National Priorities List reflects continued cleanup progress at site, agency announcement says.
Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the deletion of a portion of the Libby Asbestos Superfund site in Libby, Montana from the National Priorities List (NPL). 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.
Gold miners discovered vermiculite in Libby in 1881. In the 1920s, the Zonolite Company formed and began mining the vermiculite. The mine closed in 1990, but while in operation, the Libby mine may have produced 80% of the world's supply of vermiculite.
The Libby Asbestos Superfund site was placed on the NPL in 2002 due to high levels of Libby Amphibole asbestos in and around the communities of Libby and Troy. The site is divided into eight Operable Units. Operable Unit 2 of the site includes areas impacted by asbestos contamination released from the former Screening Plant. These areas 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, collectively totaling 45 acres. Components of the long-term remedy included the removal and containment of contaminants and institutional controls to prevent exposure. EPA completed these cleanup actions in 2012.
“The deletion of these properties from the Superfund list reflects the progress EPA and our partners continue to make in cleaning up and restoring properties in Libby,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Deb Thomas.
Specifically, EPA is deleting OU2 based on a determination that no further remediation action is needed to protect human health and the environment. The area will continue to be subject to operation and maintenance activities, including regular reviews for protectiveness. EPA will continue to address contamination concerns at remaining Operable Units of the Libby Asbestos site, which includes the former mine site.
For more information about the Libby Superfund site, visit: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/libby-asbestos
To search for information about these and other NPL sites, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/search-superfund-sites-where-you-live
NB: The Superfund program has been providing important health benefits to communities across the country for more than 35 years. Superfund cleanups also strengthen local economies. Data collected through 2017 shows that at 487 Superfund sites in reuse, approximately 6,600 businesses are generating $43.6 billion in sales and employ 156,000 people who earned a combined income of $11.2 billion.
A Redfield is real property with known environmental contaminants or conditions that the owner, the government or a reliable third party have determined is in need of remediation as a prerequisite to future development—to mitigate potential human health risks or to comply with environmental laws. Unlike a Brownfield, there is no doubt about whether a Redfield requires remediation.