release O&M

documents for Libby Asbestos site


Submitted by Montana DEQ


EPA and Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently announced the release of two documents related to the operations and maintenance (O&M) period for Operable Units (OU) 4 and 7. The documents have been posted on both EPA’s and Montana DEQ’s websites.

The documents are the O&M Plan and Institutional Control Implementation and Assurance Plan. Both had public comment periods, and comments received were integrated into the final documents by EPA and DEQ, where appropriate. All public comments were sorted by topic and are addressed in the responsiveness summaries in the appendices of both documents.

The O&M Plan details administrative, financial and technical aspects and requirements for inspecting, operating and maintaining the remedial action for OUs 4 and 7. Montana DEQ will become the lead agency for O&M. The physical remedy for OUs  4 and 7 left contamination in subsurface soil and encapsulated it in inaccessible areas where it does not present a risk of exposure. The O&M Plan for these OUs will ensure the safeguards put in place are effective and permanent to protect the public from the remaining risk of exposure.

The Institutional Control Implementation and Assurance Plan (ICIAP) details what Institutional Controls will be used at OUs 4 and 7 to ensure the remedy remains protective. The controls for OUs 4 and 7 include government controls and informational devices.

Processes for reimbursement of planned disturbances to the remedy, along with the decision criteria, will be in the O&M Manual for Operable Units 4 and 7. The process is being developed and maintained by DEQ and will include a fact sheet for residents to clarify the process of applying for reimbursement.

EPA and Montana DEQ are monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 situation and will continue to collaborate on components of O&M until the official handoff takes place. EPA and Montana DEQ will share updated information with partners and the public on the timeframe for the formal transition as soon as it is available.

The health and safety of the community, state and tribal partners, contractors and EPA staff remain a priority. EPA and Montana DEQ are taking necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of these groups while making decisions about ongoing activities. Thanks for your attention to this update.

For more information about the Libby Superfund site, visit: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/libby-asbestos and https://deq.mt.gov/deqadmin/dir/libby

Please contact Beth Archer (archer.elizabeth@epa.gov) 303-312-6611 with any questions about EPA’s work at the Libby Superfund site.

Montana DEQ’s Public Information Specialist for the site is Moira Davin (moira.davin@mt.gov) 406-444-6360.




Zero to Five Lincoln County works to spread a positive vibe for families


By Tracy McNew


During the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected nearly every aspect of our lives, Zero to Five has made it their priority to provide positive forward momentum despite all of the negativity.

Zero to Five is a county-wide collaborative dedicated to promoting health and resiliency in families with young children ages zero to five.

Along with partner agencies, Zero to Five been able to distribute almost 300 Hopa Mountain books to local children during this time. They have also been working to provide interactive games, toys and learning materials for families stuck at home. Dorey Rowland, Local Zero to Five Collaboration Coordinator, said “It is our hope that these activities will provide opportunity for family engagement, will be fun and entertaining, and will provide joy and encouragement.”

Zero to Five has also been working with partner agencies to help provide emergency food support and necessities to those in need. Items such as diapers and wipes are being distributed in addition to food. They have even purchased ten iPads for local students to access online learning.

“Understanding that the needs of our families are likely to change weekly and even daily during this time, we will continue our efforts to be responsive to emerging needs,” said Rowland.

An online community resource guide has been developed to provide important information related to COVID-19. Visit Zero to Five’s website at zerotofive.org/lincoln and click on “Lincoln County COVID-19 Resources” to access the local guide or click on “National and Statewide COVID-19 Resources” for more broadly focused information.

In the spirit of data driven responses, Zero to Five even conducted a COVID-19 Family Impact Survey between April 2 and 10. They published a report and will use the results obtained to help make data-driven decisions about how best to support children and families locally and statewide.

Statewide, nearly 1,200 people participated in the survey over 500 personal stories about acts of kindness were submitted. One parent said, “Through the difficulties and challenges of the COVID-19 crisis, Montanans are demonstrating both small and large acts of kindness, proving that we certainly are all in this together.”

To learn more about Zero to Five Lincoln County, call 283-2448, visit their website or follow them on Facebook.