Residents of Lincoln County who want to have their home inspected for asbestos have until March 31 to contact the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Since January, the EPA has been conducting what it’s dubbed a “last call” for residents of Libby and Troy to participate in the asbestos cleanup that has been ongoing since the early 2000s. Since the start of the remediation effort, more than 7,500 properties within the Superfund site have been inspected and more than 2,440 have required cleanup. However, as of this January, there were still 600 properties that hadn’t been inspected.
Mike Cirian, project manager for the Libby remediation, said since January, 120 property owners have granted the EPA access to their home or land for an inspection. Of the 120, about 115 homes or properties will require some cleanup.
However, another 330 property owners have told the EPA that they do not want them inspecting their land.
Officials say if the owners do not contact them and the property needs to be inspected or cleaned up in the future that the cost could fall on the individual owner. If a property is not inspected, the EPA will file a notice of environmental conditions with the Lincoln County Clerk and Recorder’s office so that future owners, lenders and renters can be aware that it was not inspected or cleaned.
Lincoln County was designated a Superfund site in the early 2000s after it was discovered that asbestos-contaminated vermiculite had sickened or killed hundreds in the community. A vermiculite mine operated north of Libby from 1963 until 1990.
Property owners who have not participated in the inspection and cleanup program are encouraged to call (406) 293-6194 or pick up an access agreement at the EPA’s Information Center at 108 East Ninth Street in Libby.