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EPA: Final asbestos inspections needed to prevent future property costs

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The EPA has spent the past 18-years cleaning up over 2,000 properties. (MTN News photo) The EPA has spent the past 18-years cleaning up over 2,000 properties. (MTN News photo)
LIBBY -

Officials managing the last cleanup of the Libby asbestos worry a handful of owners could miss their chance to clean up their properties, leaving them exposed to unknown costs and problems in the future.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is looking to wrap up the final inspections and possible cleanup of roughly 600 properties in Lincoln County which could have been contaminated from operation at the WR Grace Mine. 

But some people, likely worried about their privacy, aren't cooperating.

"Ten percent or less would even go to a cleanup. But we do have about 60-properties or so that we know need a cleanup of some kind. And some of those folks are just refusing to do that," remedial project manager Mike Cirian said.

The EPA has spent the past 18-years cleaning up over 2,000 properties. Cirian says the agency respects people's concerns, but worries they could face major problems and costs selling without inspections and cleanup in the future.

"Of course if somebody's coming to look to buy a house and it hasn't been cleaned up or inspected, I wouldn't want to purchase a home that hasn't had that done," Cirian said. "And I know there's probably a lot of people that are like that. And also right now, there's no cost to the owners to have these cleanups or inspections done."

EPA is encouraging Lincoln County property owners to contact the Information Center in Libby with questions before the end of March. 

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