Thursday meeting to hear update on Smurfit flooding issues

Posted at 6:46 AM, Jun 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-07 08:46:00-04

MISSOULA – For the first time since flooding raised concerns about the integrity of berms along the old Smurfit Stone mill site, a citizens group following the project will hear an update directly from EPA and Missoula County officials.

Thursday’s meeting of the Smurfit-Stone Mill Site Community Action Committee comes after a month of rapid developments concerning the cleanup and future of the mill property east of Frenchtown.

At the top of the list has been the near-record flooding on the Clark Fork River, which put a lot of pressure on the berms which separate the river from the mill’s former "cooling ponds".

While there’s been no direct evidence of the berms failing, the county and Clark Fork Coalition were concerned there might be a mixing of water, or a "leak" at the downstream edge of the berms.

The Environmental Protection Agency ordered samples, but we’re still waiting for this to be released.

In addition to a report from EPA officials on the berms and samples, the CAG is planning to hear from Missoula County on deed restrictions that have been filed for the property, and how that could impact future uses.

The group meets at 6 p.m. at the Frenchtown Fire Hall and that meeting is open to the public.