Haz Waste Removal
CFAC is registered with DEQ as a large quantity generator of hazardous waste. No hazardous waste permit is required. The Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) addresses the storage of hazardous waste and its removal from Building 1, a 40-acre structure which housed the primary aluminum smelting operations. There are 451 pot liners that need to be removed from Building 1 (Pot Room). Of an average 110-ton pot, approximately 60 tons will be contaminated and given the designation of K088 hazardous waste. There are three disposal facilities for K088-related wastes; Calbag has indicated that it may use U.S. Ecology out of Idaho or Chemical Waste Management out of Washington.
DEQ’s Asbestos Control Program has been providing direct compliance assistance and permitting for CFAC since April 2015. The work at the facility has been divided into manageable phases to allow for a thorough accounting of waste materials. At the point when an application for asbestos removal is received for a particular phase, a required notification for demolition is also submitted and processed.
As of May 13, 2016, 30,820 pounds of regulated asbestos waste, and 748,470 pounds of non-regulated asbestos material has been removed. Structures included in the removal are the West Rectifier, Rod Mill Building, Paste Plant, Quonset Hut, West Aluminum Unloader, Compression Building, East Rectifier and Potline Complex.
An asbestos project permit is in place through 2016 for the East Rectifier building, and through July for the Laboratory Building. Demolition notifications remain in place for the East and West Rectifiers, Rod Mill Building and Laboratory Building.
CFAC's first groundwater discharge permit was issued in 1984; this permit did not authorize a discharge to state surface waters. In 1993, after it was determined that CFAC was discharging to the Flathead River without a permit, the company submitted an application for a Montana Pollutant Discharge Elimination system (MPDES) permit; DEQ first issued an MPDES permit in 1994, authorizing the discharge of process wastewater through groundwater to the Flathead River. In 1999, DEQ renewed the MPDES permit through 2004. Based upon CFAC's 2003 application for renewal, DEQ administratively continued the 1999 permit.
During spring 2013, DEQ determined that an updated permit application was required for renewal since the previous application was submitted in 2003, and outdated. Although CFAC had ceased all aluminum production from its facility in 2009, CFAC submitted its updated application in 2013 with the assumption that production could restart at any time. The renewed MPDES permit was effective September 1, 2014; however, CFAC has appealed portions of the renewed permit. The appealed portions of the permit have been stayed as a result of CFAC's appeal. The company's current MPDES discharge permit is set to expire in 2019.
Industrial and Energy Minerals/Opencut Mining
On October 29, 2015, the DEQ Opencut Mining Program approved permit #2724 for the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company to obtain material from an area on the CFAC property east of the original aluminum plant location. According to CFAC, material obtained from the CFAC Borrow Pit will be used as back fill following building demolition activities. More information on this permit can be found at: http://searchopencutpermits.mt.gov/