August 7, 2008

At a press conference in Bonner on Tuesday, Gov. Brian Schweitzer called for a cleanup and removal of a contaminated cooling pond built on the bank of the Blackfoot River at the Stimson Mill. The pond, in use for generations, contains roughly 87,000 cubic yards of sediments contaminated with carcinogenic PCBs and other toxic compounds.

The governor, and DEQ director Richard Opper, discussed the state’s preliminary cleanup plan, which is out for public comment until Sept. 12. The sediments would be removed and shipped, depending on the degree of toxicity, to either the local landfill or a special facility in Idaho. The berm that encloses the pond would be removed and the banks included in the state’s restoration plan for the Milltown Superfund site at the confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers. The berm of the cooling pond had to be reinforced before beginning work at the Milltown Superfund site.

The project, which could begin as early as next spring and take three to four months to complete, carries an estimated price tag of more than $5 million. For additional coverage, see the Missoulian’s article.

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