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Whitefish River to be Blocked for Toxic Cleanup

By Beacon Staff

WHITEFISH – Officials in northwestern Montana say the Whitefish River will be blocked and the flow piped downstream so crews can vacuum toxic sludge off the riverbed.

The plan is the second part of a three-part cleanup of old railroad pollution being carried out by Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad that is being overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Jennifer Chergo of the EPA says work should begin within two weeks.

The EPA ordered the railroad to undertake the river restoration near a fueling facility upstream from Whitefish after finding diesel and other contaminants in the sediment.

Crews plan to use portable dams and reroute the river through several four-foot diameter pipes, leaving the riverbed dry.

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