County, state, EPA and Smurfit-Stone owners to meet Thursday

Joshua Murdock

Montana and Missoula County officials, officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and owners of the former Smurfit-Stone cardboard plant will meet Thursday to discuss additional testing for the toxic site near Frenchtown.

The site along the Clark Fork River was home to a cardboard container factory 1957 to 2010. It has been vacant and unused since then. A 140-acre section of floodplain within the 3,200-acre property is home to an immense collection of toxic sludge in 55-gallon drums. Contaminated water was also impounded in ponds on site.

The site has been on the EPA’s radar for years. It’s drawn the ire of environmentalists since at least the 1970s. In 2020, the county pushed the EPA to focus its attention on the 140 acres of toxic sludge. Later that year, the state warned anglers not to consume fish caught in the Clark Fork from Missoula to Paradise, due to contaminants in fish tissue that likely came from Smurfit-Stone. 

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