Blackfoot Reopens After Unintentional Cleanup

The lower Blackfoot is home to plenty of manmade hazards left over from the old Bonner mill site, such as the old saw blade shown here. Thankfully, we can count industrial cleaners out of the mix  after the fine work that is being done at the crash site.
The lower Blackfoot is home to plenty of manmade hazards left over from the old Bonner mill site, such as the old saw blade shown here. Thankfully, we can count industrial cleaners out of the mix after the fine work that is being done at the crash site.

Missoula area anglers breathed a collective sigh of relief Tuesday afternoon, when Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks officials reopened the lower Blackfoot and Clark Fork rivers to boats and waders in the early afternoon after a semi tractor trailer truck turned over and dumped its load of industrial cleaner alongside Highway 200 about 9:15 a.m. Though the initial crash left a grayish stain to float downriver below the crash site the cleanup is reportedly going smoothly and county health officials have been on scene and directing the efforts. The chemicals have been identified as aluminum sulfate and diethanolamine, which are components of the soap making process. While the Blackfoot was already clean as a whistle, it might have gotten an unintentional scrubbing in the lower sections. The spill has been contained and river rats have been given the go-ahead, though cleanup is ongoing.

A big thank you goes out to East Missoula Rural Fire, Missoula Haz-Mat, Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks, and Republic Waste Services who are on the job of bringing the Blackfoot back into shape in a hurry. Keep and eye on the Missoulian for updates, and count the Blackfoot among the lucky ones for now.

 

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