Missoula County hires contractor to check Smurfit dikes - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Missoula County hires contractor to check Smurfit dikes

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MTN News photo. MTN News photo.

Missoula County commissioners are hiring an engineer to check the stability of dikes along the Clark Fork River to see if they're adequate to hold back contaminants from the former Smurfit Stone mill.

County leaders have been expressing concerns over the dikes bordering the river for the past several years. Commissioners approved hiring a contractor to get some answers on Wednesday.

The dikes were originally built to provide a separation between the river, and the acres of "holding ponds" adjacent to the mill. The fear is that the dikes could breach during a major flooding event, releasing contaminants for miles downstream.

The contractor will be tasked with analyzing the dikes, the streamflow and channels of the river, the floodplain and the history of whether the structures were ever repaired during the mill's operation.

The county is expected to use the information to back up requests for cleanup plans being developed by the mill's current and former owners and the US Environmental Protection Agency.

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