Bi-Mart has filed a lawsuit against Anaconda-Deer Lodge County and the Atlantic Richfield Co., seeking $135,000 for expenses incurred after finding drums of toxic metal buried on countyowned land the company planned to buy for a store site. The Eugene, Ore. Retailer’s complaint, filed Friday in District Court, alleges negligence, breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation. Michael McLean, Bi-Mart’s Anaconda attorney, said the company was unable to resolve the issue out of court. “It sends the wrong message out for further development,” he said. County Attorney Joan Borneman said she is aware of the suit but has not yet reviewed it. Arco spokeswoman Robin Bullock declined to comment on specifics of the lawsuit. “We worked in good faith with Bi-Mart and the county before to try to resolve the issues,” she said. “We did resolve some of them. Clearly it doesn’t appear we’ve resolved all of them. We’ll continue to work with the county on finding a resolution.” Bi-Mart, a regional membership discount chain, entered into a land-sale agreement with the county in April 2004. But before signing the deal, Bi-Mart as allowed by a condition of the sale agreement hired a contractor to test the site’s suitability. “One of the contractor’s vehicles fell through the ground into a void that had been covered with wood and dirt,” the suit says. Bi-Mart paid for ground-penetrating radar and further exploration that revealed the vehicle had fallen onto a vault holding several 55-gallon drums of beryllium, a toxic metal left over from copper refining operations. “The discovery resulted in Bi- Mart incurring a tremendous amount of unexpected costs associated with the contamination,” the suit says. Bi-Mart gave the county and Arco six months to clean the land, but eventually dropped its plans to build in Anaconda. The lawsuit said the county breached its sale contract by not reimbursing Bi-Mart’s costs and that the defendants neglected to test the site before misrepresenting it as remediated and suitable for retail use. The county returned Bi- Mart’s $30,000 deposit on the land, McLean said.