Tri-County Environmental Health Department

Tri-County Environmental Health Department
Anaconda/Deer Lodge – Granite – Powell Counties
Anaconda-Deer Lodge County Courthouse
800 South Main Street
Anaconda, Montana 59711
Telephone (406) 563-4065
Fax (406) 563-4001

December 1, 2015

To: Katherine Bair,
Hotel Deer Lodge

From: Chad J. Lanes, R.S., Tri-County Sanitarian

Re: Hotel Deer Lodge health hazards

Katherine, I appreciate the opportunity to walk through the Hotel Deer Lodge this morning with Mary Ann Fraley, Mr. Schnell & Mr. Ingraham to assess the potential public health hazards that the building presently presents and may present in the future.

We were able to go through the Hotel from the basement to the third floor and see what the current state of the inside of the building is as well as try to look into the future to determine what may happen to it without any remediation or somewhat immediate action.

The first thing that I noticed was the water infiltration that has caused much destruction to the ceilings and walls of all four floors. Nearly all of the plaster has fallen off the ceilings on all three main floors and caused rampant mold growth throughout the building. At this time, the mold growth is limited to the inside of the building but if it’s not contained and neutralized it could easily spread to neighboring buildings as well to the general public outside the building.

There are still some missing windows and doors (as I understand these were being assessed at the time we were there and will be boarded up very soon) and it was obvious that there was (and likely still is) pest harborage on a pretty large scale in the Hotel. There were quite a few dead pigeons in rooms and quite a bit of pigeon feces, particularly on the third floor. There is likely also some other pest infestation (cats, packrats, possibly raccoons, etc.) that would be more obvious were the temperatures above the low teens. This is the most immediate health hazard as I see it.

Mr, Ingraham can better speak to the remediation related hazards but there was some evidence of lead based paint that could pose a dust hazard and some asbestos pipe insulation, particularly on the third floor, that had fallen off the pipes and was starting to spread around. Once he has an opportunity to read the full EPA Hazard Assessment he can give a clearer picture of exactly what hazards exist.

The abatement of these health hazards is the main focus of my involvement in this process. I would prefer to see in-situ abatement, cleanup and restoration as opposed to abatement and demolition of the building. In addition to the potential immediate hazards posed to the community, there is the greater-reaching issue of restoring the building vs. filling up a landfill with the materials. It is obviously a better long-term approach to put the building back to work than to haul it to a landfill.

If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at my e-mail address ( or via my cell phone at (406) 560-3190.