Frequently Asked Questions

Why did the FMC plant close?

While the plant faced many challenges, the plant closed because it was no longer profitable to operate. The largest single factor in the site’s economic viability was the uncontrolled rise of electricity rates from mid-2000 through the collapse of Enron in mid-2001.

At the time, about 25% of the cost of producing elemental phosphorus was attributable to the price of power. In fact, the economic advantage the site had was the historically low power rates due to hydropower generation in the State of Idaho. FMC was Idaho Power’s single largest customer, consuming over 12% of their total generation. Near the end of the plant’s life, the Enron debacle caused huge spikes in the power rates paid by FMC to Idaho Power — from about $15/MWHr to over $500/MWHr on the open grid market. This forced FMC to reduce operation from four furnaces to three, then to two and finally to one. As a result, the plant became uncompetitive with phosphorus being imported from China and sold at prices below FMC’s cost to produce it. The plant was no longer profitable to operate and was closed on December 10, 2001

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Why has it taken so long to get the site cleaned up?

The Eastern Michaud Flats Superfund Site (EMF Site) was placed on the National Priorities List (NPL) by the EPA in August, 1990. The EMF Site includes the FMC plant site, the Simplot plant site and adjacent areas impacted by site operations.

In 1998, an EPA cleanup plan was developed for the FMC site, the Simplot site, and the adjacent off-plant area just north of the plants. However, despite their full participation in the development of the cleanup plan, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes objected to the plan and the U.S. Department of Justice required EPA to withdraw the plan for the FMC site and the off plant area. The Simplot site clean up proceeded and is now being implemented; that plant is outside the Fort Hall Reservation boundary.

After the FMC plant closed, EPA required FMC to again assess the extent of the contamination at the plant, including those areas where the plant had once operated. That investigation was completed in 2009 with the full involvement of EPA, IDEQ and the Tribes.

Originally, EPA intended to issue its Proposed Plan for cleaning up the FMC facility in July 2010, following a government-to-government consultation with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes in June 2010. The consultation was to have taken place soon after EPA’s National Remedy Review Board (NRRB) reviewed and concurred with the EPA Region 10 preferred remedial alternative, which took place in May 2010. During the August 2010 consultation between EPA and the Tribes, the Tribes requested an extension of time to decide whether they would submit draft cleanup standards to EPA for consideration as CERCLA “applicable or relevant and appropriate requirements” (ARARs) for the site cleanup. Having new ARARs incorporated in the cleanup process could potentially require substantial additional work and re-do of the EPA review and approval process.

On December 3, 2010, the Tribes submitted soil, groundwater, surface water and soil gas cleanup standards to EPA Region 10 requesting that they be designated as ARARs for the site cleanup. The Tribes’ Cleanup Standards attempt to require remediation of the property back to its “pre-contact” condition before the arrival of early settlers, before even the 1868 Fort Bridger Treaty.

Several additional meetings took place between the Tribes and EPA after the Tribes issued their ARARs request. The EPA Proposed Plan acknowledged the Tribes’ Soil Cleanup Standards and stated that they appear to be ARARs. However, since EPA issued the Interim Record of Decision Amendment (IRODA) in September 2012, the question of what ARARs are applicable will be deferred to the time that EPA issues a final ROD that will specify final cleanup requirements. If the Tribes were able to persuade EPA to enforce their Soil Cleanup Standards or other regulations as ARARs at the FMC site, these same cleanup standards would be enforceable under CERCLA at any other property within the Reservation.

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What is the pollution at the site; is the groundwater contaminated?

The primary contaminants of concern (COCs) in shallow soil and fill are radium-226, cadmium and elemental phosphorus, and the primary COC in groundwater is arsenic. All of these constituents are naturally occurring in the phosphate ore.

  • Radium-226 in the slag.
  • Radium-226 and cadmium in the ore and wastes from ore processing.
  • Elemental phosphorus is a concern within soil at the former FMC furnace building, where it was produced, the loading dock, where product was shipped, and in historic furnace process (“phossy”) wastes placed in ponds, now closed, on the FMC property. Elemental phosphorus (P4) is stable if it is in an environment where it is not exposed to air. That is why FMC always managed P4 product and process waste under a water cover. As long as the P4 remains buried within soil, it is not a hazard.
  • The shallow aquifer beneath the site is contaminated with arsenic, attributable to both the FMC operations and the Simplot gypsum stack.

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Is it true there are railcars buried in the slag pile?

Yes. Based on plant records, in 1964, 21 railcars containing residues of elemental phosphorus sludge that could not safely be removed from the empty cars were placed at the then southern edge of the slag pile and covered with native soil. The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes falsely represent that the railcars are “full of toxic material.” There is no evidence for that claim. The railcars were covered with 80 to 120 feet of slag as the slag pile progressed to the south, meaning that the railcars are now entombed within the slag pile. FMC has taken the cautious approach of considering these railcars to be a “potential” threat to groundwater, even though no actual leakage from these railcars to groundwater has ever been identified. It is also worth noting that groundwater has not been encountered in deep drill holes in this area of the site. However, if present, the groundwater would be expected to be in excess of 140 feet below the original ground surface. Both because of this fact and because of the depth of slag that covers and isolates them, the railcars in their current state do not pose a human health or environmental threat.

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How far off the plant site does the contamination go?

The primary portion of the FMC site outside the former plant operating area that is affected by radium-226 and cadmium contamination is the upper 2 inches of soil at the property directly northeast of where the ore piles were located. Like the rest of the FMC site, FMC owns that property. The contamination is the result of windblown ore dust. Beyond the FMC property boundary, very little radium-226 and cadmium has been found. The IRODA required that the soil on this parcel be excavated to a depth of 6 inches and returned to the plant site as fill. This work was performed in 2014 and post-excavation soil samples taken in this remediated area confirm the property meets the IRODA performance standards. The property will be seeded in 2015 to re-establish vegetation.

In October, 2010 EPA, IDEQ and Power County issued a “Ready for Reuse Certificate” for the FMC-owned properties to the north of I-86 that FMC made available to the Power County Development Authority for commercial redevelopment. This 87-acre area is outside the Fort Hall Reservation boundary, is zoned Heavy Industrial, and does not require any remedial actions beyond property use restrictions. As referenced in the Ready for Reuse Certificate, the property is already under binding legal restrictions that authorize the property to be used for certain commercial purposes but prohibits residential use.

Groundwater contamination at the EMF Site originates from both the former FMC facility and the J.R. Simplot Company (Simplot) facility. The contaminated groundwater from both facilities comingles in the area downgradient from the plant sites and migrates beneath FMC and Simplot-owned property. It then mixes with the Portneuf River in the area between and including Swanson Road Spring and Batiste Spring. Both the FMC interim cleanup plan and the interim Simplot cleanup plan address groundwater contamination.

Groundwater conditions underlying the FMC Plant and the source areas for its groundwater contamination are discussed in detail in the EMF RI Report and updated in the GWCCR. The detailed information on the nature, extent, fate and transport of groundwater contaminants presented in the GWCCR was integral to the development of groundwater remedial alternatives for the FMC Plant.  Both the FMC and Simplot interim cleanup plans require on-going groundwater monitoring, the results are submitted to the EPA in annual reports prepared by each Company.

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What is FMC doing to control phosphine from the closed ponds?

P4 slowly decomposes in water to form phosphine gas. Phosphine is a toxic gas and is flammable at higher concentrations, but oxidizes quickly to form non-hazardous phosphate compounds. When the ponds were in operation, the air around them was closely monitored to ensure worker protection and no risk to the public. When the ponds were closed, free water was removed as the P4 wastes were covered, significantly reducing the amount of phosphine generation. No phosphine can be measured in ambient air at the location of the former furnace building, loading dock, and old pond area, because it oxidizes in the soil and doesn’t reach the ground surface. The RCRA ponds were closed with impermeable covers, which prevent oxygen from entering. The lack of oxygen allows phosphine to accumulate beneath the cover. The potential for phosphine accumulation was anticipated in the design of the ponds. Piping was installed beneath the cap during the closure of the ponds so that phosphine gas could be extracted, similar to methane extraction from closed municipal landfills. The extracted gas is treated with carbon, which neutralizes the phosphine gas and prevents it from being emitted to the ambient air. FMC continues to work with EPA to determine which ponds require extraction. The ponds are closely monitored to ensure that they do not pose a threat to workers. Following closure of all the RCRA Ponds, which included covering them with caps, no phosphine has ever been detected outside the immediate pond area.

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When will the FMC site be cleaned up?

Since the issuance of the IRODA and UAO, FMC has been on an EPA-directed schedule to construct the soil and ground water remedies. The remediation of the site has been divided into two categories of work: the Soil Remedy and the Groundwater Remedy. We have been working with EPA to develop and obtain approval of remedial designs, starting with the soil remedy in September, 2014. The first phase of the soil remedy involves site-wide grading for surface water control and preparation for capping. Cap construction will begin mid-2015. Also during 2014, groundwater extraction zone performance testing was conducted to provide further information needed for detailed design of the groundwater extraction and treatment system, construction of which should commence in 2016.

The soil remedy will be completed in 2016; the groundwater remedy is planned be constructed in 2016 and fully operational in 2017. The schedule is ambitious but doable. As the remediation moves forward, redevelopment plans can be incorporated so that the property can begin to contribute, once again, to the local economy.

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What will the site look like after cleanup based upon EPA’s Interim Record of Decision Amendment (IRODA)?

The cleaned-up site would be grass-covered rolling hills and fenced open spaces. Impacted soils and wastes on the site would be covered with engineered caps, which would include soils of varying thicknesses that would be planted with native grasses. Prior to constructing the cap covers, grading plans are being implemented to direct rain water and snow melt off the caps and into storm water swales and percolation basins. The slag pile is being re-graded and sloped to provide for placement of soils to support vegetation.

EPA’s cleanup plan recognizes the integration of redevelopment into the cleanup plan, so that for example new buildings and parking lots could meet site capping and cover requirements.

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Is the Gay Mine part of the cleanup?

No. The Gay Mine is not part of the FMC or EMF site cleanup. However, Simplot and FMC entered in an administrative settlement agreement (ASA) with EPA effective in December 2010 under which the companies are conducting a separate “Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study” (RI/FS) for the Gay Mine. The RI/FS will identify the type and extent of contamination at the Gay Mine and evaluate and propose alternatives for addressing the contamination. In 2013, the companies submitted the draft Remedial Investigation Work Plan (RIWP) for EPA review. In the fall of 2014, the companies completed initial field survey work in support of completing the RIWP. Final approval of the RIWP is expected in early 2015, with subsequent field activities to begin Summer 2015.

The Tribes and federal agencies have not allowed FMC and Simplot to proceed with remedial work at the primary areas of concern—the “pit lakes” that collect rainwater and snowmelt, along with selenium and metals from the mined area. FMC and Simplot offered 15 years ago to fill in the pits and eliminate the lakes to prevent further contamination and any potential exposure to pit lake water. But the Tribes and federal agencies refused to accept FMC and Simplot’s proposed work.

We are hopeful that the remedial investigation process that Simplot and FMC have now started at Gay Mine will allow the companies to expeditiously address that site in much the same manner as the environmental work that is being done at other phosphate mines in Southeast Idaho.

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What is FMC’s corporate philosophy on cleanup?

FMC is committed to protecting the health and safety of both people and the environment surrounding our facilities, whether they are still active or no longer in use. Our corporate philosophy concerning closed operations is to complete our remedial obligations in accordance with EPA standards, ensure protection of public health and the environment, and incorporate redevelopment into the remediated property so that the property can again contribute to the economic vitality of the community. FMC has facilitated the redevelopment at a number of sites across the country where, due to changing economics, manufacturing plants have closed. FMC has carried out this site closure work with very positive results in terms of protecting health and the environment and facilitating site redevelopment. We are hopeful that this objective can be attained at our Pocatello site.

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What was the economic benefit to the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes when the plant was in operation?

The Tribes received over $100 million in payments related to the mining and manufacture of elemental phosphorus. Over the life of the Gay Mine, the Tribes and individual Tribal members received approximately $60 million in royalties and taxes for the mining of phosphate ore. During the last five years of plant operation (1997-2001) about $2 million per year was paid to the Tribes. Major components were: waste disposal fee – $1.5 million/year; air fees – $200,000/year; TERO fees – $100,000/year; and FMC donations to the Tribes – $100,000/year. During this same period, Native American employment at the plant averaged 74 people. In addition, many Native Americans were employed by the contractors who performed capital project work at the facility. The Tribes also received royalties associated with ferrophos sales derived from Gay Mine ore. Lastly, from 2001 to 2006, FMC paid the Tribes $40 million to secure the Tribes’ agreement to a RCRA Consent Decree amendment authorizing the capping of Pond 18A in the same manner as all other RCRA ponds at the site to which the Tribes had previously agreed.

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Who pays for the cleanup?

FMC Corporation has been responsible for paying all costs associated with extensive site investigation and studies at the EMF site ($35 million) and will be responsible for the costs associated with the cleanup plan ($60 million). FMC has also reimbursed EPA for its costs for oversight of the work FMC has conducted, as well as the costs incurred by IDEQ and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. No taxpayer dollars have been or will be expended on the remedial investigations and implementation of the cleanup plan at the EMF site.

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Would the FMC site benefit from additional investigation in order to find a remedy to treat all of the elemental phosphorus waste?

FMC has spent $35 million conducting exhaustive investigations and studies of the site and remedial options at the direction of EPA, with specific research on all actual and potential treatment technologies for elemental phosphorus in soil. These investigations addressed not only EPA but also Tribal concerns, and created the basis for the EPA IRODA. The Tribes took part in defining the scope of all investigations and studies for the site. They continued to be involved throughout the process in reviewing the wide range of environmental reports the investigations generated, submitting comments and recommendations on draft reports, and taking part in meetings and conference calls that determined next steps as the investigations proceeded. All the site investigation data and information is in the public record.

FMC has been open and transparent with EPA and the community. Covering areas of the site with elemental phosphorus in the ground with an engineered soil cap, and prohibiting future digging in these areas to prevent exposure of elemental phosphorus to air and subsequent ignition is the scientifically preferred and safest way to remediate elemental phosphorus contamination.

In fact, the ShoBan Environmental Waste Management Program published “A Review of Waste Treatment Technologies for Potential Application on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation and Surrounding Areas” in January 2011. This review did not identify any new technology to be studied at the FMC site, but rather noted that “capping is the most common form of remediation because it is generally less expensive than other technologies and effectively manages the human and ecological risks associated with a remediation site” (emphasis added). All of the investigations conducted over the last twenty years at the site support EPA’s IROD to cap contaminated soils.

In addition to the ongoing implementation of the IRODA, EPA has committed to the Tribes that it will assemble and fund a second ‘independent review panel’ to again review existing technologies to excavate and treat elemental phosphorus in soil. This is the same review that was undertaken by EPA in the development of the IRODA and reviewed and approved by the EPA National Remedy Review Board. FMC is not a participant in this activity.

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Why can’t elemental phosphorus be removed from the soil?

In soil, elemental phosphorus poses no threat to human health and the environment. When exposed to oxygen, however, elemental phosphorus produces a chemical reaction that causes spontaneous combustion.

As the Director of EPA’s Office of Environmental Cleanup wrote to the Tribes on April 22, 2011, “The issue is not about treatability, it is about excavation. Due to the heterogeneity of the P4 in the soils, EPA is not aware of any viable method to safely excavate the P4-contaminated soils. Furthermore, due to the heterogeneity, knowledge that one spot could be excavated safely to a depth of 10 feet does not inform the questions of whether it would be safe to conduct the same excavation 10 feet over, and in some cases, might not even inform the question of whether it is safe to continue digging in that same location.”

Further, it would be extremely dangerous to site workers and first responders in the area. Attempts to excavate soils contaminated with varying amounts of P4 would create very significant risks.

Under EPA’s IRODA, small amounts of elemental phosphorus can and will be removed from concrete storm sewers. These represent very small volumes of P4 materials, in an enclosed unit, that can be secured and safely managed.

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How do you handle phosphorus-contaminated materials that become exposed during the remediation process?

Changes at the site, such as decreasing the size and changing the shape of the slag pile, are already visible. The slag pile work is being done to contour the material to achieve a slope to support earthen capping and natural grasses, as well as to channel rainwater/snowmelt to a collection pond that will continue to prevent stormwater from leaving the site. While contouring the slag pile, undocumented subsurface conditions (USCs) have been encountered, but procedures were developed prior to beginning the grading work to manage this condition if encountered. USCs are materials that contain trace amounts of elemental phosphorus. When encountered, the USCs are covered with wet sand and relocated on-site for future disposition pursuant to EPA-approved procedures. To date, USCs represent less than one-half of one percent of the total volume of material moved. Other activities taking place on site include dust control measures with a goal of no visible emissions from the construction activities and real-time air quality monitoring. All activities that could generate dust are monitored and preventive measures like use of water trucks are being regularly deployed.

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Why not just flood the soil with water to put out an elemental phosphorus fire?

The amount of water needed to prevent elemental phosphorus fires if P4-contaminated soils were excavated would be enormous. In addition, the years of testing at the site have shown that putting the amount of water into the ground that would be necessary to suppress soil fires would drive the soil contamination further toward groundwater. More groundwater contamination is something that nobody wants.

The best approach is to prevent fires altogether, and prevent any further groundwater contamination, by covering the phosphorus-containing soils with an engineered cap. This is the soil remedy outlined in the EPA IRODA. One of the other significant benefits of capping is to eliminate the hydraulic pressure that has previously caused soil contamination to move downward toward groundwater.

It should be noted that the industry and first responder-recommended practice to extinguish a P4 fire is to cover it with soil and smother the fire.

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What is the impact of groundwater contamination from the FMC site on the Portneuf River and the American Falls Reservoir?

Environmental investigations have shown that groundwater from beneath the FMC plant and the Simplot plant flows toward the north and northeast, and mixes with regional groundwater flow coming from the west. The areas where groundwater exceeds drinking water standards are located wholly beneath property owned by the two companies. FMC’s groundwater impacts are primarily in the shallow aquifer, while beneath the Simplot plant both shallow and deep groundwater aquifers are impacted.

The contaminated groundwater from the two sites comingles and eventually discharges to a series of springs along the banks and within the channel of the Portneuf River over a length of 200-300 feet along the west side of the river. One primary contaminant of concern in groundwater is arsenic, which is just slightly above the federal drinking water standard at the boundary of the Portneuf River but nevertheless fully meets federal and state water quality standards in the river. The other primary contaminant of concern is phosphate (measured as total phosphorus).

In 2010, EPA issued an Interim Record of Decision Amendment for the Simplot plant to address discharges of phosphorus to groundwater, similar to an April 2008 voluntary agreement that Simplot had entered into with IDEQ. Simplot is currently extracting contaminated groundwater at rates such that the IDEQ 2013 ”intermediate” goals for phosphate reductions in the river were achieved in early 2011. Simplot’s mass-loading studies indicate that FMC’s groundwater contributes less than 1% of the phosphate/total phosphorus loading and less than 5% of the arsenic loading to the Portneuf River.

In addition to the extensive sampling conducted by FMC and Simplot during the original EMF site remedial investigation in 1992 through 1995, EPA conducted sampling of the Lower Portneuf River water and sediments, including the delta in the American Falls Reservoir in 2004, to re-assess potential impacts to the river from the EMF site. EPA determined that “analytical results revealed little toxic or radioactive contamination,” with many of the detections occurring upstream of the FMC and Simplot sites. EPA determined that no further action under the federal CERCLA program was warranted with respect to contamination in the Lower Portneuf River and the American Falls Reservoir.

The IRODA and UAO require FMC to extract contaminated groundwater from the FMC property to prevent it from migrating toward the Portneuf River and also require treatment of that water before it can be discharged. Extraction wells along the northeast corner of the FMC property wells will intercept all the FMC-impacted groundwater before it can flow to the river and the untreated groundwater area will be entirely contained within/beneath the plant site. Treated ground water will be discharged to infiltration ponds where it will evaporate and also percolate back into the aquifer.

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EPA said the RCRA ponds were safe, so why are they now generating phosphine gas?

There are no ongoing phosphine gas releases from the FMC site to the surrounding area. When the RCRA ponds (newer, lined ponds) were in operation and uncapped, phosphine generation and release to the air did take place. Closing of the ponds was expected to, and has, reduced the amount of phosphine generation in the ponds by cutting off the supply of water and oxygen to phosphorus-containing wastes. With the caps in place, phosphine gas can build up under the RCRA caps. FMC is currently operating three gas extraction and treatment systems to prevent the release of phosphine gas from the ponds to ambient air.

The generation of phosphine gas in the closed RCRA ponds was always anticipated by EPA, FMC and the Tribes – that’s why gas collection piping was installed under the impermeable caps during closure. No phosphine has ever been detected at the property boundary since the time when FMC capped and closed the ponds. With FMC’s ongoing implementation of gas extraction and treatment, phosphine generation in the closed RCRA ponds is well controlled. Monitoring continues under EPA oversight and direction, demonstrating that no releases to ambient air are occurring.

With respect to the older “CERCLA” ponds to be capped under the Proposed Plan, EPA has overseen FMC’s monitoring of those units and concluded that, “The CERCLA units have remained in their current uncapped state for decades and there is no evidence that phosphine or other gases….have been generated in these units.” (EPA Region 10 Administrator to Chairman, Fort Hall Business Council, July 11, 2011).

Although the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes disagree with EPA’s conclusion that capping is the safest and most protective remedy for the RCRA and CERCLA ponds, they were extensively involved with the regulatory process under which the RCRA ponds were closed, capped and monitored. Furthermore, in 2001 the Tribes specifically agreed to FMC capping a phosphorus-containing pond, involving an FMC payment of $40 million to the Tribes.

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Since the FMC property is mostly on the reservation, why shouldn’t the Tribes get to decide what remedy is best?

The FMC property on the Fort Hall Reservation is owned by FMC in fee – meaning it is not tribal or trust land. FMC is like any other private landowner in Idaho, paying taxes to Power County. Further, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled many times that Indian tribes don’t have jurisdiction over fee land owned by non-members unless very specific and narrow conditions apply. Those conditions do not apply to the FMC site.

The Tribes’ concerns have been fully and extensively evaluated by EPA, both in Seattle and in Washington, DC, and the technical, policy and scientific experts support the EPA IRODA as the most effective and safest remedy for the site.

Despite the expert evaluations from government, industry and academia, the Tribes want to delay remedial action until a scientifically defensible and technically workable method of dealing with elemental phosphorus in soil is developed. The Tribes do not have a specific treatment proposal that can be submitted for technical review. Instead, they want to put the FMC remedial action and Southeastern Idaho on hold indefinitely. FMC is subject to an enforceable EPA order that requires it to immediately implement the remedy selected in the IRODA.   It is neither appropriate nor lawful for FMC to put the Superfund process on hold to conduct experiments that pose an unacceptable risk to workers and the community. Superfund is designed to put effective, workable and proven remedial actions in place to protect people and the environment from contaminated sites, not delay those actions while waiting for the possibility that other remedial options might be developed in the future.

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Isn’t FMC concerned about the long-term future of the site?

In a perfect world, eliminating the elemental phosphorus from the FMC plant site would be the ideal. But this isn’t a perfect world. The reality is that no technology can safely and effectively accomplish what the Tribes seek. This fact has been verified over and over again by scientific and engineering experts.

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What is FMC’s position on EPA’s IRODA and its implementation through subsequent Unilateral Administrative Order?

FMC supports EPA’s IRODA and its implementation through the June 2013 Unilateral Administrative Order (UAO). The IRODA delineates remedial actions required for the FMC facility. These remedial actions include groundwater extraction and treatment and covering impacted surface areas with engineered caps. The company has a strong history of taking former operating sites, making them protective for people and the environment, and putting them back into productive use.

FMC has previously received UAOs from EPA for site remedial work, specifically with respect to the closed RCRA ponds, and has a record of successfully implementing them. FMC is fully prepared to carry out the IRODA requirements under the terms of the June 2013 UAO. The UAO allows for expedited implementation, eliminates unnecessary administrative steps, and allows cleanup to move forward without further delay. The Eastern Michaud Flats Superfund Site that encompasses the FMC facility was listed on the Superfund National Priorities List in 1990. The FMC facility has been waiting too long for remediation to begin.

The EPA IRODA and UAO are consistent with and expeditious redevelopment of the site. That’s what FMC promised the citizens of Southeast Idaho when the plant closed in 2001. EPA’s IRODA and the subsequent issuance of the UAO are significant steps forward toward FMC meeting those goals.

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What is happening at the FMC site during the implementation of the IRODA and UAO?

As FMC moves forward with the remedial action, FMC will continue to work with the Power County Development Authority (PCDA) to broadly market the property for redevelopment. Until now, uncertainties regarding the scope and timing of the cleanup action have deterred interested developers. Now that the IRODA and UAO have been issued and FMC is carrying out the site cleanup actions EPA has selected, these barriers to redevelopment have been removed.

MWH, a global engineering firm that supported FMC through the supplemental remedial investigation and feasibility studies at the Pocatello site, is uniquely qualified given its in-depth site knowledge to provide remedial design and project management support to FMC to efficiently and effectively implement the IRODA and UAO. FMC intends to continue to utilize MWH for this work. MWH will lead the remedial design efforts out of its Salt Lake City office.

FMC has also hired CB&I as the construction contractor currently implementing the soil portion of the remedy. FMC also hired Parsons, Inc. to provide on-site oversight and construction management for all remediation activities. Presently, there are approximately 70 people on site working for CB&I and other contractors and subcontractors to implement the remediation. Kase-Warbonnet, Inc., a local Native American owned firm, continues to provide operations and maintenance at the plant site, and supports the remediation activities. As a result of CB&I’s local hiring initiative, approximately one-half of the 30 local positions available were filled by Native Americans pursuant to hiring preferences authorized under the Civil Rights Act. Currently, the site work is taking place 6 days per week/10 hours per day. Those hours are seasonally adjusted during winter months.

FMC will continue to work with the EPA, the State of Idaho and the community at large to move forward with the site cleanup and facilitate redevelopment of the property for the benefit of all residents of Southeast Idaho.

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What is the role of the “Independent Review” that EPA is providing to the Tribes to review technologies for the excavation and treatment of elemental phosphorus in soils?

During the remedial investigation and feasibility study process that lasted almost twenty years, EPA and FMC thoroughly evaluated all viable means of excavation and treatment elemental phosphorus in soils. In the Interim Record of Decision (IROD), EPA selected capping as the most appropriate remedy to ensure protection of human health and the environment. In response to the Tribes’ concern that further investigation may uncover new means of excavating and treating elemental phosphorus, EPA committed to form and fund an “Independent Review” process to assist with identifying potentially feasible new technologies. As of the summer of 2013, the precise scope of the Independent Review process was still unknown and subject to ongoing discussions between EPA and the Tribes. How the Independent Review report may be used by EPA or the Tribes has yet to be clearly defined, however FMC has raised numerous concerns about the decision to take this unusual and unnecessary step for a site undergoing cleanup under EPA’s oversight pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). EPA has stated to FMC that the Independent Review report will not: (1) conduct any comparative analyses of potential excavation/treatment technologies; (2) undertake any formal evaluation of such technologies relative to the nine criteria prescribed in the National Contingency Plan that guides EPA’s remedy selection process; or (3) render any recommendations on the relative merits of any candidate technologies in its report. In other words, EPA has stated that it has not delegated to the Independent Review panel any responsibilities for remedial technology evaluation and selection, which is EPA’s exclusive responsibility under CERCLA.

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Does the federal court litigation between FMC and the Tribes have any impact on the site cleanup work that FMC is doing?

No, the implementation of the IRODA is independent of litigation between FMC and the Tribes that is currently pending in federal court. The remediation work is being conducted under a Unilateral Administrative Order (UAO) issued by the US EPA requiring FMC to perform the work. In a separate action, FMC has asked the federal court to review a Tribal Court of Appeals judgment and decision that improperly rejected legal principles established by the US Supreme Court that Indian tribes generally lack jurisdiction over fee land owned by non-Tribal members. FMC looks forward to obtaining a full and fair hearing in the federal courts regarding the Tribes’ jurisdictional authority.

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