The Environmental Protection agency has agreed in principle to a $1.4 million settlement with a subsidiary of Monsanto Co. accused of contaminating groundwater and a stream with selenium and other heavy metals at its phosphate mining operation in southeastern Idaho.
The company does not admit any liability stemming from the EPA's initial complaint, according to the settlement decree.
Mining in the area has come under criticism from environmentalists and government regulators since selenium pollution was blamed in the deaths of livestock in the 1990s.
"We expect it will take a while for it to flush itself out," said Dave Tomten, an EPA biologist in Boise. "What they've done is stopped violating the Clean Water Act as far as we know. But they will have to have a continued site presence indefinitely."