BNSF railway and the Environmental Protection Agency are both waiting on sampling results to determine the source of the unidentified sheen on Flathead Lake in Somers. They expect those results back by Monday.
The sheen was first reported to the EPA earlier this week. Thursday, BNSF took steps to contain it. A BNSF representative told MTPR yesterday that early field indicators suggest the sheen comes from a natural organic source, rather than a man-made chemical source.
The sheen is not far from the former Somers Tie Plant, which treated railway ties with creosote and other chemicals for several decades before being listed as a Superfund site in the mid-1980s. BNSF, in coordination with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and the EPA, oversaw soil and water cleanup, and continues to monitor the site.
The EPA has dispatched an emergency response coordinator to the site.