HELENA— The Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Brownfields program, in collaboration with the City of Harlowton, will begin removal of contaminated soils at the historic Harlowton Railyard in Wheatland County starting the week of April 19. Construction will focus on an area of the railyard where asbestos-containing materials such as braided gaskets, transite piping, and asbestos felt are present in the railyard’s soils.
DEQ estimates that approximately 2,500-3,000 cubic yards of contaminated soils will be excavated between April 19 and April 30. Previous investigations have removed soils contaminated with diesel fuel. A certified asbestos abatement firm will be present during this excavation to ensure that all contaminated soils are properly wrapped and sealed in a “plastic burrito” prior to being hauled to the Great Falls landfill for proper disposal. Air monitoring samples will also be collected daily to ensure that the soil is properly wetted and that asbestos fibers are not leaving the excavation area.
This phase of excavation is funded through DEQ’s legislatively appropriated use of Orphan Share funds. This funding is critical for use at contaminated sites where there is no financially viable responsible party, and will continue efforts to clean up contamination at the historic railyard. Once the asbestos contaminated soils are removed, DEQ will then begin preparations for removal of additional petroleum contaminated soils near the location of the former 500,000 gallon diesel fuel tank. That work, planned for fall 2021, will be funded through a combination of DEQ’s Orphan Share funds and legislatively awarded Department of Natural Resources and Development (DNRC) Reclamation and Development Grant funds.
In March 2021, EPA’s Brownfields program selected Harlowton to receive a planning grant to assist the community in developing and designing reuse opportunities for the historic Roundhouse. This visioning process will complement the community’s current effort to develop an overall reuse plan for the entire 180-acre railyard property. More information and updates on the planning process, upcoming events, and construction activities can be found on DEQ’s Harlowton Railyard webpage at: https://harlowton-railyard-mtdeq.hub.arcgis.com/