The Environmental Protection Agency has recommended that Missoula's former Smurfit-Stone mill site be listed as a priority for Superfund status.

"After the site has been proposed, there will be a 60 day public comment period in which we solicit comments from the general public," says EPA Site Assessment Manager Robert Parker. "We [will] review those comments and then write a response document to those comments."

Parker says a preliminary environmental test has turned up some concerning information.

"The main environmental concern that EPA sees is related to the surface water pathway," Parker said. "The issues that we see is that there are contaminants in the soil that we've tested there, and there are also indications that some of those contaminants have migrated into the Clark Fork River and the sediment of the Clark Fork river."

After the public comment period, the EPA will draft a response to those comments and then, if approved, begin work on a more thorough investigation of the former Smurfitt-Stone site. The 60 day comment period will run through July 20th.

The current owner of the site, M2Green has been contacted for a response to the EPA's recommendation. M2Green President Ray Stillwell said he would have a response by Thursday.

Robert Parker