Firm chosen to oversee SK Fingerjoint fire cleanup

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Libby volunteer firefighters fight the blaze that destroyed much of the SK Fingerjoint complex in Kootenai Business Park Nov. 5, 2017. (John Blodgett/The Western News file photo)

A firm has been selected to oversee the cleanup of asbestos-containing material, or ACM, left behind after much of the SK Fingerjoint complex in Libby’s Kootenai Business Park burned to the ground last Nov. 5.

The ACM released by the fire is unrelated to Libby Amphibole asbestos and requires certain rules and regulations be followed for its cleanup.

WGM Group, an engineering firm with offices in Kalispell and Missoula, was expected to sign a $22,503 contract Tuesday, March 6, according to Lincoln County Port Authority Operations Manager Brett McCully.

McCully outlined the contract at the Feb. 28 meeting of the Lincoln County Commission. According to its terms, WGM Group will work closely with the Port Authority, which oversees Kootenai Business Park, to define and manage the cleanup project, including soliciting bids for the actual cleanup work.

McCully told the Commission that he would provide some of the inspection and oversight of the cleanup to help keep costs down.

“I’ll be there anyways,” McCully said, noting that he became familiar with the process after the plywood plant burned down in 2010 and it “basically” entails taking photos and notes “and making sure people aren’t doing something stupid.”

As the contract stands, McCully said he “was really happy with” the dollar amount.

Before the Commission voted 3-0 to approve the contract, Jeff Koskela asked during public comment whether they should wait until the new Port Authority board met as a whole for the first time before deciding.

The new board is comprised of the three commissioners and two other people who are in the process of being added.

“I think that’s a good point, Jeff,” Commissioner Mark Peck said. “(But) we need to get moving on it. It’s been sitting there since (early November).”

McCully said weather permitting, the cleanup could be completed near the end of April or start of May.

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