The Smurfit-Stone pulp mill operated on the banks of the Clark Fork River near Frenchtown from 1957 to 2010, discharging enormous amounts of toxic waste. Ten years since closure, this 3,200-acre industrial site continues to leach hazardous chemicals into the aquifer and river.
In 2015 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined that International Paper, WestRock, and Wakefield are responsible for fixing this mess, and began site studies. But many years later, actual cleanup is still decades away.
While necessary studies continue, we can begin now to remove what EPA data confirm is the worst of the mess: 140 acres at the heart of the site contaminated with PCBs, dioxins, furans, manganese, and other highly-hazardous wastes. Sitting in unlined waste and sludge dumps, these pollutants are in direct contact with the groundwater – which then flows to the river.
No more waiting.
Clean Smurfit now.
After decades of citizen action and tens of millions invested in restoration, the hard-working Clark Fork River is finally on the mend. And yet, the contaminated Smurfit-Stone site continues to pollute the river we've all worked so hard to clean up. It's time to do something about it.
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