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Flathead National Forest investigating oil dumping

Posted at 9:05 PM, Jul 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-25 10:37:52-04

(Editor's note: USDA media release).

KALISPELL -- The Flathead National Forest is seeking information about an oil dumping incident in the Swan Lake Ranger District on Crane Mountain.

Forest Service staff learned of the incident after detailed reports from the concerned public and discovered multiple 50 gallon and 250 gallon containers. They contained substances that appeared to be oil and other potentially hazardous chemicals. Many of the barrels were leaking and substances were running down the hillside coating huckleberry bushes and other vegetation.

The Forest is coordinating with local hazardous materials experts to determine appropriate clean-up activities.

“We have many resources in the county to properly dispose of hazardous materials,” said Swan Lake District Ranger Chris Dowling in a media release. “Dumping them in a national forest not only costs taxpayers considerably more to clean up, but also has the potential to damage our ecosystem and recreation opportunities.”

People with information about the incident should call the Flathead National Forest Law Enforcement Office at 406-758-5297. Information can be reported anonymously.