The federal government said it will evaluate how climate change could inform future cleanup decisions at the Smurfit-Stone Superfund site near Missoula.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tuesday announced it will conduct a Climate Vulnerability Assessment starting later this month at the former pulp and paper mill.
The agency said the assessments help project managers design Superfund remedies that are ‘resilient in the face of a changing climate.’
The EPA said the assessments take factors such as drought, severe weather, temperature and wildfires into account.
The study will run alongside current Superfund remedial investigation and risk assessment work. Local residents and experts raised concerns earlier this year about how the EPA has approached the cleanup and whether the agency has done enough to keep toxic waste out of the Clark Fork River.
It is expected to wrap up sometime next year. The agency offered no specific end date.
The Smurfit-Stone Superfund site sits on a 3,200 acre historic floodplain 11 miles northwest of Missoula.