County approves $95,000 contract for continued planning work for former Black Eagle smelter site

Cascade County Commissioners approved a $95,000 contract with Water and Environmental Technologies, Inc., or WET, for their continued work assisting in the review and planning for the cleanup of the Black Eagle Superfund site.

The contract is being funded with funds the county received from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this summer under the Superfund program for the engineering and land use planning consulting services to consider potential future uses of the former smelter site.

The county contracted with WET in July 2017 through a competitive bid process and is extending the consulting services to add tasks and views WET as a sole source provider based on their knowledge of the Black Eagle site and work completed to date, according to the county agenda report.

The extended contract requires WET to

  • continue reviewing and preparing comments on the EPA’s design for the Operable Unit 1 area of the smelter site as it relates to future public use of the railroad corridor in that section;
  • provide consultation to the county on the institutional control program for the smelter and refinery site;
  • refine the future uses for the OU2 section and prepare comments on the remedial investigation as it relates to future uses of the area;
  • and expand the scope of task three of the original contract for exploring longterm management options for the OU2 site to define and negotiate financial strategies for the future management of the site as the land use plan is implemented.

The initial agreement with the EPA was for $98,445 and has been amended several times since 2016.

The agreement was further amended to increase the award to $254,491 and in July 2019, the EPA release $100,000 of the additional funds.

County staff said they’re hoping that the EPA will release the record of decision on OU1 in the next few months. Commissioner Jane Weber said the hops is that work can begin on OU2 cleanup in the summer of 2021

People have asked county officials when the proposed trails and other recreational amenities will be added to the former smelter site.

“We’re not there yet,” said Commissioner Joe Briggs.

County staff said the EPA has expedited a lot of the sampling for OU2 by adding more monitoring wells and doing a considerable amount of sampling to move the project along.

For more background on the project, read our previous coverage:

County receives additional EPA funding toward researching options for former smelter site

County moving forward with plans for former smelter, park in Black Eagle

Public meeting tonight on plans for former smelter site, Black Eagle Park

Draft plans for former smelter site include trails, mountain bike area, archery, folf and more

Public meeting on draft plans for former smelter site set for Nov. 14

Water park among crowd favorites for ideas for former smelter stack, but cost could make it unlikely

Got an idea for future development at the old stack site? Share it Monday in planning process