Contaminated Groundwater

Idaho Pole Company Superfund Site

The Idaho Pole Company site is an 87 acre site located in the northeast portion of the City of Bozeman. The facility began operating as a utility pole treating facility in 1945 using creosote to preserve wood and later switched to pentachlorophenol in carrier oil (similar to mineral oil) for the wood treating solution.  In 1978, evidence of a release of the oily wood treating fluid was identified in ditches near the facility and near Rocky Creek.  

In 1983 the Environmental Protection Agency found that pentachlorophenol mixture was moving away from the plant and entering the groundwater. In 1986 the EPA designated the Idaho Pole Company site as a federal Superfund Site on the National Priorities List. The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation designated a Controlled Groundwater Area around the site in 2001.  The designation restricts new groundwater wells from being drilled in the area.

The site consists of contaminated soils and contaminated groundwater. The groundwater is generally shallow, especially so on the north side of the property near Rocky Creek, and the saturated groundwater table fluctuates seasonally. Contaminated surface soils on the site have been treated to commercial/industrial standards in a “Land Treatment Unit” and buried in the “Treated Soils Areas” on the site.

In summer 2019 the EPA proposed deletion of the surface and unsaturated subsurface soils from the National Priorities List. At that time, the Gallatin Local Water Quality District board and the Gallatin City County Board of Health had several remaining concerns and jointly submitted public comment on the proposed deletion. Click here to view the boards’ joint public comment letter. In February 2020, EPA announced the deletion of surface and unsaturated subsurface soils was complete. View the deletion announcement on the Federal Register here. EPA has responded to the joint board comment letter and this response can be viewed here.

To view EPA’s Idaho Pole Superfund website, click here.

For more information about the Idaho Pole Controlled Groundwater Area (CGWA), click here.

Useful links:

GLWQD-GCCBOH Joint Public Comment Letter

EPA’s Response to GLWQD-GCCBOH Joint Public Comment Letter

Map: Key Features – Idaho Pole

Map: Treated Soils Area – Idaho Pole

Record of Decision – Idaho Pole Site

2015 Five-Year Review Report – 2015

Addendum to 2015 Five-Year Review Report

Chronology of Idaho Pole Site

City of Bozeman’s Pole Yard Urban Renewal District Information Hub

EPA FAQs for Redevelopment of the Idaho Pole Co. Superfund Site

Additional monitoring reports are available through the GLWQD office, US EPA, or Montana DEQ:

Roger Hoogerheide (
EPA Project Manager
(406) 457-5031

Lisa Dewitt (
MDEQ Project Officer
(406) 444-6420

Bozeman Solvent Site

The Bozeman Solvent Site is located in the City of Bozeman at the Hastings Shopping Center (formerly the Buttrey Shopping Center).  Soil and groundwater at the site have been contaminated tetrachloroethene (PCE).  PCE is found in dry cleaning solvents and was used at a former dry cleaning business at the Buttrey Shopping Center. PCE was released into the subsurface through an old sewer line and an old septic system.  The PCE eventually came into contact with groundwater. PCE is now present in the groundwater underlying the site at concentrations greater than Montana groundwater standards. The PCE contamination extends north from the site with the direction of groundwater flow.  Because of groundwater contamination, the Bozeman Solvent Site has been designated as a Controlled Groundwater Area (CGWA). The CGWA boundary encompasses the originating site of contamination (the Buttrey Shopping Center) and extends north of the East Gallatin River to include the contaminated area.  This is a State Superfund site, also known as a CECRA site (Comprehensive Environmental Cleanup and Responsibility Act).

For more information on the Bozeman Solvent Site CGWA, click here.

Slides from a DEQ update at GLWQD’s 5/5/22 board meeting can be found HERE.  An audio recording of the meeting can be found HERE – Search ‘LWQD’ and choose the 05/05/2022 meeting on the Past Meetings tab.

Monitoring reports are available at the GLWQD office or through Montana DEQ.

Kate Fry, (
Montana DEQ Project Officer

Bozeman Landfill Soil Gas Study

The City of Bozeman continues to test wells in the Bozeman Story Mill Landfill area for soil gases, particularly volatile organic compounds (VOCs). For information on the monitoring reports, site investigation, mitigation system, remediation and risk assessment, please visit the City of Bozeman website.