Crews nearly finished with repair work on Smurfit berms

Posted at 9:04 PM, May 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-21 23:04:11-04

FRENCHTOWN – There’s still some finishing work to do. But crews have been able to deliver thousands of yards of gravel to help shore up a containment berm at the old Smurfit Stone mill site, helping reduce the risk of toxins going down the flood-swollen river.

Missoula County, the US Environmental Protection Agency and other groups have been worried about the integrity of the earthen berms which separate the old mill cooling ponds from the Clark Fork River. They’ve been monitoring the situation daily as flooding continues.

The owners of the mill site discovered a "boil" of possible groundwater coming up on the lagoon side of one of the berms furthest downstream last week The area was encircled with a "ring dike" to try and contain the water. And Saturday, contractors begin shoring up the berm as a precaution.

New video released on Monday evening shows the berm holding steady, and the new gravel and fill dirt that’s been placed along the berm to strengthen it. Missoula County officials tell us crews still need to "level off" the fill, but right now there have been no further problems.