MT Town Evacuated due to Chem Lab

Monday, July 23, 2018 @ 05:07 PM gHale

Residents of Norris, Montana, the small unincorporated community, are now allowed back home after authorities ordered everyone evacuated Tuesday while potential explosives were removed from a laboratory.

Norris Lab is located along Hot Springs Creek and did chemical testing for the mining industry, said officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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The lab was shut down by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after investigators found “hundreds of improperly stored and abandoned containers of hazardous substances at the facility.”

EPA officials said some of the volatile compounds ended up exposed to the elements, and the soil around the facility is contaminated with byproducts from lab testing.

A storm drain in the lab empties into Hot Springs Creek, according to the EPA.

Photos of the lab also show messy jumbles of chemical containers and a bathroom where hazardous materials were flushed down the toilet, according to the EPA.

A Missoula County bomb squad, along with several other agencies, responded to help remove dangerous explosives and other chemicals from the site.

The website for Norris Lab describes the facility as a “fire and chemical assay labratory [sic].”

Madison County officials said the roads to Norris re-opened and the hazardous chemicals are mitigated.



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