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State proposes reissuing hazardous waste permit for Malmstrom Air Force Base

State environmental officials are accepting public comment on a proposal to reissue a hazardous waste permit for Malmstrom Air Force Base.

Hazardous waste kept in Malmstrom’s on-site storage building in Cascade County include solvent wipes used for weapons cleaning, paint stripper and thinner, pesticides and some pharmaceutical wastes.

Malmstrom also uses the building to store universal wastes, such as mercury-containing light bulbs and batteries.

Hazardous waste permits issued by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) are in effect for ten years and must be reissued or terminated after that. One was issued to the Malmstrom base in 2012.

DEQ proposes to reissue a permit to Malmstrom which would allow it to continue both operating the storage facility and remediating contaminated areas on the base.

A 45-day public comment period is open until November 16th. After that DEQ will review comments and make a final decision.

O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the University of Montana School of Journalism. His first career job out of school was covering the 1995 Montana Legislature. When the session wrapped up, O’Brien was fortunate enough to land a full-time position at the station as a general assignment reporter. Feel free to drop him a line at