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DEQ cleanup a year away for Troy area

| March 15, 2005 11:00 PM

By ROGER MORRIS Western News Publisher

Work on the Troy "component" of the Libby Superfund cleanup probably won't begin for another year, the state project manager told the Troy City council on Wednesday.

"We're looking at a year before we begin cleanup," said Catherine LeCours, superfund project manager for the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.

"Troy is an operable unit of the Libby site and has been from day one," LeCours said.

For now, LeCours said the Troy project is mostly public relations and paperwork. She will meet with the city council at their first meeting on the second Wednesday of each month. She will also meet with local residents as the cleanup plan becomes more defined.

The proposed study area includes all properties adjacent to U.S. Highway 2 from Montana Highway 56 to 5.2 miles north of First Street with the Kootenai River as a boundary to the east. It includes sites 1 mile up Callahan Creek and Lake Creek roads from the highway.

And it will include other properties in the area including sites in the Bull Lake, Milnor Lake and Savage Lake areas, LeCours said.

A final site boundary will be determined by the initial inspection and sampling process.

Neither the EPA nor the DEQ expect the Troy cleanup to approach the scale of the Libby site because there was no processing of vermiculite. Cleanup will most likely be residential insulation, and some vermiculite brought home by property owners or former miners.

"I don't want to get expectations high until we know we have the money," LeCours said.

"As far as the funding goes, it's in the works," she said. "We're looking at a majority of the money coming in the 2006 budget year."

Property owners who live outside the proposed project boundary but wish to be included, may contact Troy City Hall for information on how to contact LeCours. Or people may call the EPA Information Center at Libby, 293-6194.

In other business, the council told Kootenai Pets for Life representatives that the city was willing to work with the group to find a new location for an animal shelter.

"We're not throwing you out," Mayor John Brown said. "We will work with you to find another location.

Brown said the existing location was presenting an "acoustic" problem and there was concern that re-locating the facility up to the former city dump would also be a noise problem.

Last month, the city rescinded its offer to have the shelter moved to the Lake Hill location. In addition, the city said the proposals by KPFL were too expensive. Those proposals asked the city to build a 3,000-square-foot foundation and buy back the facility if the volunteer organization abandoned the site.

"We really don't have a lot of money to put into a facility," Brown said. "Our participation would be in-kind" through equipment and labor.

"Then where do we go from here," asked KPFL spokesperson Eileen Carney. "Is land out by the dump not available?"

"Not at this time," responded the mayor. "The size of the facility might create a nuisance in terms of noise. We are looking at some county property."

Brown said he would meet with city councilman Jim Hammons and city department heads Clint Taylor and Dave Norman to find an alternative site.

"We're open to almost anything," Carney said.

In other business, the council:

l Heard a report that the proposed water well on Kidder property came up with an inadequate flow for the city's pending water project. The city is now looking at other sites for the well and water tank.

l Heard a report that work has started on the extension to the Roosevelt Park walking path. The path will extend from the existing path in the park to the railroad right-of-way. Eventually, the city wants to connect that path with the walking path on U.S. Highway 2 that extends north of the city to circle the airport.

Work on the extension is expected to be completed by the Fourth of July, Hammons said.

In addition, the city is putting in light poles and benches along the entire path in the park.

l Heard a report that the city crews have poured the concrete for the Bull Lake "Welcome to Kootenai Country" sign. County crews will transport the sign to its location at the south end of Bull Lake on Montana Highway 56.