A Missoula non-profit is asking the EPA to make the old Smurfit-Stone mill near Frenchtown a Superfund site.
Recent testing uncovered arsenic in the surface water, dioxins in shallow groundwater, and numerous other contaminants in the ground soil surrounding the 3,200 acre site.
EPA officials said cleanup must happen there somehow, but they said they’ll need to run more tests and talk with state and county officials before making plans.
Chris Brick, science director for the Clark Fork Coalition, a Missoula-based conservation group, said she hopes the test results will lead to the EPA making Smurfit a Superfund site.
“Obviously, Superfund is not a perfect tool,” said Brick. “It takes time, it requires cooperation from the responsible party, and it takes a lot of coordination. But as we have seen at Milltown and the Clark Fork’s headwaters, Superfund can really go to work in positive ways—for groundwater, the Clark Fork River, local economies, and future generations.”
Illinois-based Green Investment Group bought the old mill site in 2011. In a written statement, the company said it will work with the EPA to understand the results, and that the safety of Missoula County residents is their top priority.