Restoring a Natural Beauty

Columbia Falls Aluminum Company (CFAC), is located two miles northeast of Columbia Falls in Flathead County, Montana. An electrolytic aluminum reduction facility, originally constructed by Anaconda Aluminum Company, was previously located at the site. The industrial portion of the property covers approximately 960 acres adjacent to the Flathead River and was in operation between 1955–2009. In 2016, the CFAC site was listed on the National Priorities List under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Superfund program.

Stormwater and wastewater from a portion of the plant was discharged into three cascading infiltration ponds constructed adjacent to the Flathead River. These ponds, referred to as the South Ponds, were originally constructed with an earthen dam at the east end of an old seasonal side channel to block active river flow. The water discharged to the South Ponds and included suspended solids in the wastewater that deposited a sediment layer in the bottom.