The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is deleting a portion of the Superfund site in Libby, Montana that is contaminated with asbestos. They came to the decision after performing the required cleaning activities at a former mine screening plant. The plant was used to separate vermiculite from the mined materials that also contain large amounts of asbestos.
Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands more are ill from many years of asbestos exposure from the defunct W.R. Grace and Co. vermiculite mine.
In 2002, the mine was added to the EPA’s Priorities List and Superfund sites due to large amounts of amphibole asbestos being found. The Superfund site was split up into eight units that were dependent upon the complexity of cleanup needed and the extent of the asbestos contamination. Deb Thomas, the Acting Regional Administrator for the EPA stated that “the deletion of these properties from the Superfund list reflects the progress EPA and our partners continue to make in cleaning up and restoring properties in Libby.”
Since 1999, the EPA has removed more than one million cubic yards of debris and dirt from the contaminated properties. Last year, the cleanup cost surpassed $575 million.
Sources: 1, 2