Site Cleanup Introduction
The FMC plant operated outside Pocatello, Idaho in Power County for just over a half century. During much of this time, State and Federal environmental laws had not yet been written. Throughout this era, materials from elemental phosphorus production were managed at the plant site in accordance with manufacturing practices at the time.
With the advent of federal laws like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act and related state laws, the plant waste streams became regulated. Two of the most significant environmental laws currently applicable to the FMC plant site are RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, commonly referred to as Superfund).
The requirements of these laws are intended to ensure that site contaminants are managed in a manner that is safe and protective of human health and the environment. FMC has conducted extensive site investigations at the Eastern Michaud Flats Superfund Site, which was listed on the National Priorities List in 1990 and encompasses the FMC plant, adjacent Simplot plant and areas surrounding the plant sites. FMC has done this work with the active involvement of EPA, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. While work at the plant ponds known as the RCRA ponds was completed in the early 2000s, the cleanup plan under Superfund was issued in 2012 as an Interim Amendment Record of Decision (IRODA).
EPA’s preferred soil and groundwater remedial actions as articulated in the IRODA were described in EPA’s Proposed Plan, which was previously endorsed by EPA’s National Remedy Review Board in May 2010. After issuing the Proposed Plan in September 2011, EPA sought and obtained public comment and held local public meetings. Then, EPA finalized the cleanup plan as the IRODA, which was issued on September 27, 2012.
Site cleanup is underway. The soil remedial action was constructed from 2014-2017. The groundwater remedial action is in the design phase and construction is anticipated to begin in 2019. The implementation of the IRODA provides for remediation and redevelopment, allowing the property to once again contribute significantly to the economic well-being of the area.