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Montana DEQ to assume Operation and Maintenance responsibilities for Libby Superfund Site Operable Units 4 and 7

News Releases from Region 08

A milestone as residential and commercial areas are deemed complete

06/29/2020

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Libby, Mont. — Only July 1, 2020, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will assume Operations and Maintenance (O&M) responsibilities from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Operable Units 4 and 7 at the Libby Superfund Site . The transition from the EPA to DEQ is a milestone celebration that moves the site further towards delisting and removing the Superfund status.

DEQ will become the lead agency responsible for the O&M of the residential and commercial areas of Libby and Troy, including site monitoring, institutional controls and oversight of the long-term protectiveness of the remedies in these areas. EPA’s physical remedy for Operable Units 4 and 7 left some Libby Amphibole (LA) asbestos in subsurface soil at depth and encapsulated it in inaccessible areas where it does not present a risk of exposure. The O&M plan for these operable units will ensure the safeguards put in place are effective to protect the public from the remaining risk of exposure.

“This milestone moves us one step closer to deletion at the Libby Asbestos Superfund Site and would not have been possible without the critical work and engagement from our partners with the state and county,” said EPA Regional Administrator Gregory Sopkin. “EPA is encouraged that human health and the environment will continue to be protected in Libby and Troy under the leadership and direction of the Montana DEQ.”

“This is a celebratory step for the Libby Asbestos Superfund Site and we appreciate all of the work EPA has done to make the site protective for residents in the communities of Libby and Troy. We look forward to partnering with Lincoln County and continuing to collaborate as we work to ensure residents remain protected,” said Jenny Chambers, division administrator for DEQ.

A milestone in the Superfund process,  EPA has determined that the cleanup is complete and a recent EPA Five-Year Review has stated that the remedy is protective of human health and the environment,. If property owners were to disturb the remedy through planned construction, such as home remodeling, there is a planned process and reimbursement option to ensure the protectiveness remains intact. DEQ is partnering with Lincoln County to continue offering the Asbestos Resource Program (ARP) that provides education and resources to the communities of Libby and Troy. If a property owner wanted to conduct planned construction, the owner would need to contact ARP to understand the next steps to ensure the remedy remains protective.

The transition is guided by documents that were developed in collaboration with EPA, DEQ and Lincoln County. For more information and to view the documents related to the transition visit: https://deq.mt.gov/deqadmin/dir/libby

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Author: Region 08

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