SPECIAL JOINT PUBLIC MEETING – GALLATIN CITY-COUNTY BOARD OF HEALTH and GALLATIN LOCAL WATER QUALITY DISTRICT BOARD REGARDING IDAHO POLE SITE PROPOSED PARTIAL DELISTING BY EPA
This meeting occurred August 7, 2019 at 7:30 am. Click here for the meeting audio recording or to review the agenda and related materials.
HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOMS (HABs) IN MONTANA
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are an overgrowth of algae in a waterbody and can be toxic or fatal to humans, pets and livestock. HABS are a major environmental problem. HABs are caused by excess nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) in water. Only some species of algae produce dangerous toxins, but these toxins can have serious consequences in recreational water bodies. To learn more, or if you suspect you have identified a HAB and would like to report on it, please click here for additional information.
(Harmful Algal Bloom photos from Montana DPHHS website)
INTERACTIVE MAP FOR WATER QUALITY DATA
We are please to announce that a new online map is available for viewing groundwater and surface water quality data in the District! The map also contains tools for finding information on geology, groundwater flow, and other environmental data. Access the GLWQD Map.
ARSENIC IN WESTERN GALLATIN VALLEY GROUNDWATER
A March 6, 2019 press release from the Gallatin City-County Health Department outlines arsenic levels exceeding the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 10 parts per billion set by US Environmental Protection Agency in recent water quality samples from one of four wells serving the City of Three Forks.
While arsenic above the MCL is a health hazard, the press release states that short term effects are not often seen following exposures at the reported levels. The well with the high levels of arsenic has been shut down and will be tested and monitored before it is put back into service. Three Forks’ other three wells were well below the arsenic MCL.
The recent results in Three Forks serve as a good reminder for those with private wells, where there are no testing requirements, to test their well regularly. In addition to annual nitrate and bacteria testing, the GLWQD recommends that County residents utilizing private wells west of the Gallatin River test their wells for arsenic at least once and consider repeating this screening every five years.
You can pick up a well test kit at the GLWQD office, where staff will explain the sample collection procedure and can provide recommendations based on your results. For more information on well testing, call us at 582-3168.
KBZK REPORTS ON GLWQD CITIZEN SCIENCE STREAM GAUGE PARTNERSHIP ON BRIDGER CREEK
Southwest Montana CBS news affiliate KBZK published a piece on GLWQD’s partnership with the US Geological Survey to install Montana’s first CrowdHydrology stream monitoring station, located on Bridger Creek in the Creekwood Subdivision. CrowdHydrology turns citizens into scientists by providing an opportunity for anyone to report the water level to a database via text message, where it is reviewed before being posted for public use.
The KBZK story is available HERE.
Please take a moment to text in a reading if you’re walking Bridger Creek in the area!
Data from the gauge can be viewed or downloaded from the CrowdHydrology website HERE.
WELL OWNER’S REFRESHER: TAKING CARE OF YOUR GROUNDWATER VIDEO
This video, put together by Montana State University Extension Water Quality is a great resource for homeowners new to using a well and septic, or a great refresher for anyone. Check it out here:
ELEVATED GROUNDWATER NITRATE SUGGESTS NEW POLLUTION SOURCE IN WEST FORK OF THE GALLATIN RIVER
Full text of this article, by Stephanie Lynn of the Gallatin River Task Force (Reprinted from ‘Explore Big Sky’) can be found HERE.
GALLATIN COUNTY WATER SUPPLY OUTLOOK
Gallatin County Extension is now compiling monthly water supply outlook reports for the Gallatin County region, reporting data from nearby NRCS SNOTEL sites and USGS stream gages and comparing it to longer term averages. The reports also include the NRCS Surface Water Supply Index and the NOAA’s Drought Monitor maps. Online reports can be found here.