Montana landfill remediation plan includes public feedback

October 20, 2014

A leaking  landfill was the subject of a City Hall meeting in Bozeman, Montana, this week, where the state's Department of Environmental Quality and Bozeman Public Works presented several strategies to address the removal of volatile organic compounds from the soil. 

The presenters referred to a Corrective Measures Assessment (CMA) that included important details of the history of the Bozeman landfill and the motivations for remediation. The CMA showed the concentration of VOCs in different areas, and where the Department of Environmental Quality plan to focus their efforts. 

"It looks at the contamination, what and where it is and the potential risk, but probably most importantly it provides an analysis of seven different possible remedies for the site," Lisa Peterson, a spokesperson for the Montana Department of Environmental Equality explained to ABC News.

One of the most warmly received strategies for remediation involved the the installation of a soil vapor extraction system. This technology extracts water through a vacuum system, and then vaporizes the soil, eliminating the presence of VOCs. This method, one of the more affordable options, is estimated to cost roughly $4 million. A total replacement of the landfill's lining was also suggested, with an estimated cost of between $50 – $100 million. 

The leaking landfill is in close proximity to surrounding wetlands and Bridger Creek, a popular recreational destination. Approximately 40 community members attended the meeting, and although their questions were collected, no answers were given during the meeting, with representatives explaining it would be irresponsible to give "off the cuff" responses to highly technical questions. 

Environmental consultants can ensure that remediation efforts are both timely and cost-effective. Their expertise can also help to bridge the divide between the public and state and federal groups, and ensure that all questions or concerns are addressed.