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Eleven years later, long-term solutions discussed concerning Superfund site in Billings

Posted at 8:51 PM, Jul 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-26 22:51:05-04

BILLINGS – There are no short-term risks with the Billings PCE Groundwater State Superfund site, according to two agencies handling the problem.

The EPA and the DEQ met with the public at Lewis and Clark Middle School on Thursday night for input on what to do long term.

Recent tests show lower levels, but the agencies want to make sure it is safe over the next 25 years.

More than 80 people came out to hear about the results from the most recent tests from 2016 to 2018.

In 2008, the EPA cleaned up an area at Big Sky Linen located at 715 Central Avenue that was the main source of PCE and TCE, chemicals that were once used in dry cleaning.

The recent investigation also shows three more sources with smaller amounts of the chemicals.

The main concern is vapor seeping into buildings.

“The soil contamination is at source level and it’s at a depth that no one’s contacting,” said Mike Gipson, DEQ State Superfund Project Manager. “The groundwater, no one’s drinking the groundwater. EPA’s emergency removal focused on eliminating immediate health risks. That was successful.

“There appears to be still some source around the Big Sky Linen, “ said Victor Ketellapper, EPA Superfund Site Team Leader. “But it did result in lower concentrations of PCE in the groundwater that resulted in fewer vapors getting into people’s homes of this contaminant.”

It’s possible to put the Billings site on the EPA’s National Priorities List for Superfund sites, have more EPA emergency removal, use state money or a combination of the options.