DEQ finishes Stimson mound removal

Rob Chaney

The last of the mini-mountain of hazardous dirt will soon be out of the entryway to the former Stimson Lumber mill site in Bonner.

Inspectors found unacceptable levels of PCB-contaminated soil in the mill’s cooling pond, fire lagoon, log pond and grounds surrounding the wood kiln building in 2006. Cleanup plans didn’t get approved until 2016.

Some of the worst material got trucked to a special repository in Mountain Home, Idaho. Another 60,000 tons of low-level hazardous soil got piled on the mill site and covered with grass.

Last June, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and Bonner Property Development developed a new plan to haul away the 20-foot-tall mound. That work was finished last fall, with the dirt buried at Republic Landfill under state oversight.

Last Monday, crews started cleaning and testing concrete footings of the old kiln building and the 3-acre site where the mound used to sit. A single excavator loaded scoops of dirt from between the kiln foundations into a front-end loader for piling.

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