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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Whitefish River cleanup right on schedule

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The Whitefish River clean-up work in Montana is on schedule, but Environmental Protection Agency officials say it will take several years to finish the project, local media report. The EPA ordered the railroad to clean about two miles of the Whitefish River. The diesel and bunker oil fuel contamination appears to come from the BNSF fueling facility.

This fall the pilot project will clean about 500 feet of the river by excavating about a foot of sediment. The excavated soil is taken to the BNSF site, dried out with quick lime, and shipped to a North Dakota landfill. EPA officials say work is at the most contaminated area right now, and they will do more testing to figure out the methods for further downstream.

"Probably the most important thing here is we are moving forward with the cleanup here, and it's going to take us some time. This is not something that's going to be done overnight, probably over a period of a couple years at least, and so we're asking for people to be patient and be cooperative with us," explains EPA On-Scene Coordinator, Dave Romero.

The work should finish by early December and crews will return for the other half of the river probably in March.

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