DEQ seeking comment on Malmstrom hazardous waste permit

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality is seeking public comment on the proposal to reissue a hazardous waste permit to Malmstrom Air Force Base for operation of a hazardous waste storage facility and continued remediation of contaminated areas on the base.

As part of the permit reissuance process, DEQ is seeking public comment on the draft permit and environmental assessment.

Hazardous waste permits issued by DEQ are in effect for 10 years and must be reissued or terminated.

DEQ initially issued a hazardous waste permit to Malmstrom in 1989, that was reissued in 2001 and 2012.

The permit allows storage of hazardous waste in an on-site storage building for up to one year, according to DEQ.

Malmstrom must also conduct facility-wide investigation and remediation of hazardous waste and hazardous constituents that may have been released to the environmental including soil, sediment, groundwater and surface water under the proposed permit, according to DEQ.

Hazardous wastes stored in the on-site storage building include solvent wipes used for weapons cleaning, paint stripper and thinner, acids and bases, pesticides, and some pharmaceutical wastes, according to DEQ.

The base also uses the building for storage of universal wastes, such as mercury-containing light bulbs and batteries, and non-hazardous wastes, according to DEQ.

Stored wastes are generated on-base and at missile alert and launch control facilities under Malmstrom’s control.

A 45-day public comment period will be open until Nov. 16, after which DEQ will review comments and make a final decision on the permit reissuance.

Comments can be submitted electronically or by mail.

A public hearing will be held if DEQ determines, based upon requests, that there is a significant degree of public interest, according to DEQ.

The draft permit and environmental assessment, and information on submitting comments or requesting a public hearing is available here.