idaho pole co.


The Idaho Pole Co. (IPC) wood treating facility began operation in 1945 using creosote to preserve wood. In 1952 the company switched to pentachlorophenol in carrier oil (similar to fuel oil) for the wood treating solution. Site processes included pole treatment in butt vats with later addition of pressurized heated retort equipment in the area south of Cedar St. Treated poles were stacked for drying and shipment in the area. Burlington Northern operated a railroad roundhouse where wood treating chemicals and timber were shipped in and treated poles were shipped out of the site. Pole treatment processes included pole peeling with a bark-fill area for wood waste north of Cedar St. The current I-90, including surface water culverts, was constructed some time after wood-treating activities commenced at the site. In 1975 a pressurized heated retort was added for treating full length poles. The pole-length vats were removed in the early 1980s. There was also a drying area where treated poles were stored prior to shipment. IPC continued wood treating with a pressurized heated retort and butt-dipping vat until September 1997 when the company ceased wood-treating operations. In 1978, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks notified the Montana Department of Health & Environmental Services (MDHES) of a suspected release of oily wood treating fluid from the plant. MDHES found evidence of a release in ditches near the facility and near Rocky Creek. Consequently, MDHES issued a compliance order on September 29, 1978, notifying IPC of statutory violations and directing the company to stop uncontrolled releases and to clean up spilled treating fluid. The company built an interceptor trench along a portion of the property line to halt some of the pentachlorophenol (PCP) from entering the groundwater. In 1983, EPA and the state sampled the trench and found that PCP was moving away from the plant. EPA proposed the facility for the National Priorities List (NPL) in 49 FR 40320 of October 15, 1984. The listing was final on June 10, 1986 in 51 FR 21054. The Idaho Pole Co. Superfund Site is located near the northern limits of Bozeman, Montana, in the east half of Section 6 and the west half of Section 5, Township 2S, Range 6E of Gallatin County. The site includes about 75 acres, of which approximately 65 acres are owned by Idaho Pole Co. A small section of I-90 (transects the property. The area to the south of I-90 consists of 41.4 acres and is currently zoned M-2 (heavy industrial). This southern portion of the property is bound by Montana Rail Link (MRL) tracks to the south, an old MRL rail spur and the Montana Ready Mix and Crane Service Company to the east, I-90 to the north, and residential property, "L" Street and commercial property (Empire Building Materials) to the west. The property is bisected by Cedar Street, which runs east-west across the property. According to the City of Bozeman, the planned future land use for that portion of the property is industrial. Significant remaining features of the property include offices, groundwater extraction and injection galleries, monitoring wells, a water treatment building and areas where treated soils have been left in place. The property to the north of I-90 comprises 32.8 acres. This area contains property owned by Idaho Pole Co. and Northwestern Energy. It is bound by Bohart Lane and I-90 to the south, Rocky Creek to the east, and residential property to the north and west. "L" Street runs along the western edge of the property, bisecting the northwestern comer of the property. The existing zoning for the area north of I-90 is a mixture of manufacturing and residential. According to the city of Bozeman, the planned future land use is industrial and residential. The Idaho Pole Company was founded in 1946 and is privately owned by McFarland Cascade Holdings, Inc. (MCHI). On November 30, 2012, MCHI was bought by Montreal-based Stella Jones, Inc. However, the McFarland family has retained the Idaho Pole properties located in Bozeman and assigned a new project manager to the site.

Hazardous Ranking Score

38 / 100

A score of 28.5 or higher qualifies a site for the Superfund National Priority List.

Regional Contact

Region 8
Phone: (303) 312-6312

Contact Region



Site Inspection
Preliminary Assessment
Final Listing On NPL

Contaminants & Health Effects

      Endocrine Disrupter
      Reproductive Toxin
      Persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic


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