Request For Proposals (RFPs): East Helena Redevelopment Studies and Plans

Because this is an open RFP, the Montana Environmental Custodial Trust (the Custodial Trust) is posting questions and our corresponding answers that were submitted by email and/or raised during a June 24, 2011 conference call.  If you have further questions, please contact Maggie Dolan at to set-up a second conference call during the week of July 4, 2011. If you participated in the call and have not received emails from Maggie, please contact her to receive information about the RFP process.

Questions & Answers

A: Depending on the responses received the Custodial Trust may request in-person and/or telephone interviews with the leading candidates.

A: As stated in the RFP, price will be an important factor in the analysis of RFP responses. Perhaps more important are qualifications and experience (especially experience with redevelopment planning and knowledge of the region). The Custodial Trust is seeking the highest quality, most creative consultants who can deliver the maximum value for the lowest cost.

A: If there is enough interest in setting up a site tour with potential bidders, the Custodial Trust is willing to schedule such a tour for all interested parties.

A: No. Questions related to the RPF should be submitted in writing by e-mail to Cynthia Brooks at with a copy to Maggie Dolan at

A: The Custodial Trust is committed to hiring Montana-based firms and individuals wherever possible. Thus, in connection with the RFP, we are seeking a firm with a business presence in Montana. Although not a requirement, the Custodial Trust is also interested in firms with prior experience working in Lewis & Clark County.

A: The Custodial Trust would like award a contract to commence work on the Phase I scope of services in August. Actual timing to award the contract will depend, in part, on the timing for receipt of beneficiary approvals. Overall, we are seeking an orderly process for implementation of the redevelopment studies with the goal of ensuring that information and deliverables about reuse will be available to inform corrective measure studies and other environmental actions at the site. Accordingly, we expect to have the opportunities and constraints plan to be completed in September, although issuance could be delayed in order to allow the Custodial Trust beneficiaries adequate time to review draft deliverables and fully vet the associated technical, legal, financial and policy-related issues. Ideally all concept plans would be completed by the end of 2011.

A: Final deliverables that incorporate input from the beneficiaries of the Custodial Trust should be issued no later than early next year.

A: The institutional controls (ICs) are an integral part of the remedy selected for East Helena cleanup performed under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA or superfund). An ICs working group has been established that includes representatives from the EPA, the State DEQ, the Lead Education & Abatement Program (LEAP), the City of East Helena and Lewis & Clark County, and other ICs stakeholders. The group is in the process of developing the ICs for East Helena. They may take the form of deed restrictions, covenants, zoning ordinances and/or groundwater protection zones. The Custodial Trust is performing cleanup of the groundwater under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and final corrective measures will also likely include ICs. The framework for ICs and the final ICs should be factored into the Opportunities and Constraints plan and should help inform final conceptual plans for potential property redevelopment.

A: The Custodial Trust and its beneficiaries routinely meet with representatives from the City of East Helena, the Louis & Clark County (Water Quality Protection District, Board of Commissioners, Board of Health, etc.) as well as economic development groups, such as the Montana Business Assistance Connection. The City and the County are important stakeholders of the Custodial Trust.

A: EPA has selected the cleanup plan for addressing unacceptable risk to human health posed by lead and other metals contamination in the soils.  The EPA-selected remedy is set forth in the OU-2 Record of Decision (ROD) issued by the agency in 2009. The ROD establishes soil cleanup levels for different types of land uses, including single-family residential use, commercial uses, light industrial development, and recreational uses.  The Opportunities and Constraints plan should recognize the constraints on future development of Custodial Trust property created by the likely presence of contaminated soils. The OU-2 Record of Decision can be found on the EPA’s website:

A: Earlier this month the Helena Valley experienced dangerous flood conditions with Prickly Pear Creek overtopping its banks in a number of locations. The flooding highlights the importance of avoiding developing in the flood plain and/or flood prone areas.  Additionally, impacts to any surface water bodies that provide flood storage will have to be mitigated. Potential corrective measures under evaluation could alter Upper and Lower Lakes and the Prickly Pear Creek corridor. Such possible changes will need to be considered in the redevelopment studies, most likely as part of an iterative process integrating cleanup scenarios with land use opportunities.

A: The Custodial Trust would like to recycle as much of the Slag Pile as possible. Preliminary results from the test run sale to Canada are favorable. At the moment we are pursuing preliminary negotiations with potential purchasers of the unfumed slag. One of the complications is that the slag pile is not homogeneous. It was created over a 100 year period and directly reflects how that smelter was operating and the type of mineral concentrates treated at the smelter during that timeframe. For a period of time, there was zinc plant that produced the fumed slag. Because of its higher metals content, the unfumed slag is of greater interest to potential re-processors. The entire slag pile is estimated at 14 million, of which an estimated 3 million tons is unfumed. Because of its sheer size, the process of recycling even the unfumed slag off-site will take many years. Although we would like to keep open the possibility of onsite reprocessing facility, it appears that the most viable scenario for slag reprocessing will entail shipment by rail to a reprocessing facility outside the United States.

A: New employment centers and tax-generating uses are a priority for the community. ASARCO and East Helena enjoyed a symbiotic relationship for many decades; however the City of East Helena lost its primary employer and source of tax revenues when the smelter was closed down in 2001. The City of East Helena’s 2009 decision to annex the former ASARCO property reflects the community’s desire to promote redevelopment of the property. Many of the City’s goals are reflected in the Growth Plan prepared by the City in 2009. Last month, EPA sponsored a design charrette to help define and develop the community’s vision for the area. The results of that process demonstrated a strong desire for variety of land uses, including: commercial, light industrial, some residential, recreational areas, beneficial public uses and open space.

A: The Custodial Trust is not aware of any plans to convert cement processing kilns to hazardous waste incineration.

A: At this time, we believe we have identified most of the deliverables associated with the community goals and plans.

A: The Custodial Trust is responsible for environmental actions at the East Helena site, which include integrating future reuse considerations into the cleanup. However, the Custodial trust is not a developer and we expect actual redevelopment to be implemented and funded by others.

Components of the redevelopment that involve public uses will likely be funded through public capital. Tax-generating uses will be funded by private parties that we hope to attract to the site. The Custodial Trust would welcome recommendations for future redevelopment funding. In our experience, initial capital sources can be critical to jumpstart redevelopment of hazardous waste sites.

A: The Custodial Trust has not developed an estimate for the three-phase scope of services outlined in the RFP. We recommend that submissions include clear documentation as to the assumptions used for developing cost proposals, including number of hours and hourly rates for various personnel. Price is a very important consideration, but will not be the sole factor governing selection of the preferred consultant.

A: Please include the number of hours, hourly rates, distribution of personnel and direct expenses for each of the three phases of work.

A: For the Opportunities and Constraints plan we are looking for a general depiction of the man-made or naturally occurring conditions, environmental constraints, impacts of land use laws, etc. In other words, the Custodial Trust is not looking for precise wetland delineations, exact locations of major features and the like, etc. We view the Opportunities and Constraints plan as a conceptual tool for communicating reuse potential with our beneficiaries and other stakeholders. We envision interaction between our land use planners, the Custodial Trust, the Trust beneficiaries and our environmental consultants to exchange information about property and environmental conditions. With the help of its consultants, the Custodial Trust will provide maps, tools, and other information to assist the redevelopment planning.

A: If soils contamination information is inadequate, it will be necessary to either agree on assumed levels of contamination or collect additional soils data to inform the redevelopment planning studies.

General Comment

The Custodial Trust encourages prospective bidders to be creative and think “outside the box”. There are many inter-related issues that must be considered in planning for future use of the property. We hope that your proposals will reflect your willingness to be creative and describe how your expertise and experience on other projects will inform your proposed work on East Helena. Although we are not going to develop the Custodial Trust property, we have a responsibility to fulfill our environmental obligations at the site and help set the stage for future community-based redevelopment and reuse of the land.