Governor Schweitzer Calls on Stimson Lumber to Clean Up Mill Site
(MISSOULA) - Today Governor Brian Schweitzer announced that the state will be requiring Stimson Lumber Company to clean up contamination at their former mill site in Bonner.
"This is a very important site," Governor Schweitzer said. "It sits immediately upstream from the Milltown Dam Site, one of the most outstanding examples of Montana's efforts to establish our restoration economy."
One of the country's oldest mills, the Stimson mill in Bonner closed earlier this year due to timber market and supply conditions.
A cooling pond at the Stimson Lumber site extends into the Blackfoot River. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) found that the pond, its berm, and the sediments in the pond are contaminated with PCBs and other toxic compounds. If during high flows the berm should fail, toxins would be released into the river. There are other known contamination problems at the Stimson Lumber site resulting from unauthorized discharges of contaminated water.
"We are not going to spend a hundred million dollars cleaning up the Milltown Dam site only to have it re-contaminated by this old cooling pond," Governor Schweitzer said. "Cleaning up this strategic property will aid in the long term development of the site for future uses. We have learned from experience that if an environmental cloud hangs over a property, development becomes difficult if not impossible."
The Montana DEQ has selected a preferred alternative for the cooling pond that would excavate and remove the contaminated materials and appropriately dispose of them. Most of the material could be hauled to Missoula's solid waste landfill or disposed of on-site at the Stimson Lumber Mill facility. The cost of the pond cleanup is estimated to exceed $5 million.
Source: Montana Governor's Office
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