While Superfund attention is focused on the Consent Decree for Uptown Butte, we cannot lose sight of another Superfund site — the Montana Pole Plant. Currently, modifications to the remedy at the Pole Plant are under consideration by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), which is the lead agency at the site. The Pole Plant, because of dioxin on site, is in some ways the most acutely dangerous Superfund site in Butte. In examining the new remedy for Montana Pole Plant, the following needs to be addressed:
1. In the 10/29/2017 edition of the Montana Standard , we find:
a. MDEQ estimates that it will take 50 years to remove all the petroleum based pollutants out of the groundwater.
b. There is money to operate the water treatment plant at the Pole Plant for only 30 years, given that the Pole Plant is a cash out site.
c. So where will MDEQ get the money to operate the water treatment plant for the additional 20 years that it will need to operate to remove all the petroleum based pollutants out of the groundwater?
2. Presently, the water treatment plant is not producing water that can meet all of the water quality standards. What assurances does the public have this this will be remedied and the water treatment plant will produce water that is in compliance with water quality standards? MDEQ says that we are "close." But I don't know what that means. How close? When will standards be achieved? Are we looking down the road at another waiver of standards in Butte? If they haven't been able to meet standards in the past, why should we think that they will meet standards in the future?