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Frenchtown leaders anticipating update on Smurfit sampling

Posted at 6:14 PM, Mar 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-05 20:14:44-05

FRENCHTOWN – Frenchtown community leaders are hoping for an update on the latest sampling for contaminants at the old Smurfit Stone mill site this week.

The Environmental Protection Agency has been conducting additional sampling on the former mill site for more than a year. EPA officials have been saying most of those samples haven’t shown contaminants to the level where there are major health concerns. But questions remain over the scale of possible contamination in the heart of the mill itself, and also how that might be impacting groundwater, and the adjacent Clark Fork River.

The Smurfit-Stone Community Advisory Group has been waiting to hear results of the latest tests that were conducted for several weeks last summer and fall. But earlier presentations were canceled because of EPA staff changes, and the federal government shutdown.

Now, EPA officials are scheduled to discuss their findings during the CAG’s next meeting on Thursday evening at the Frenchtown fire station.

Meanwhile, the Missoula Current reports the Washington real estate developer who loaned the money for M2Green Redevelopment to purchase the mill property several years ago is suing to foreclose on the deal.

Wakefield-Kennedy loaned M2Green $29 million to back the deal in April 2011. But the suit filed in Missoula County District Court says the company owes nearly $61 million in principle, fees and interest, and Wakefield-Kennedy wants to take over the land.