MONTANA DEQ PROVIDES HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOM IDENTIFICATION AND REPORTING RESOURCES FOR WATER RECREATIONISTS
Cyanobacteria, also known as blue green algae, occur naturally in many on Montana’s freshwater systems. Harmful algal blooms (HABs) happen when these organisms grow rapidly, typically when nutrients are abundant and calm water is warmed by a long, hot growing season.
HABs can produce toxins that can cause skin irritation and illness in humans, pets, and livestock. In extreme cases, these toxins can even be lethal if ingested.
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Public Health and Human Services HAB website includes resources for heading out on the water safely. You can:
- educate yourself on HABs: where to look & what to look for when you’re out on the water
- submit reports of suspected HABs – state or local health agencies will follow up
- review suspected HABs reported by others, including any associated health advisories or monitoring
Last year in Gallatin County, HABs were reported and confirmed on Hebgen and Hyalite Reservoirs. If you suspect a HAB-related illness in a person or animal, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.
RECENT FLOODING MAY IMPACT DOMESTIC DRINKING WELL WATER QUALITY
Due to the recent flooding events in Gallatin and surrounding counties, residents who rely on a private well for water are strongly encouraged to test their well water for the presence of bacteria.
Wells in flood-impacted areas may be especially prone to contamination from bacteria as rising groundwater levels may interact with nearby septic systems.
Anytime a well has been inundated or the well user suspects contamination due to flood waters, they should follow several important steps to ensure that well water is safe for drinking and general use:
- Pick up well-water test kit from the GLWQD office
- Follow the instructions to collect a sample from your well water or from a home faucet
- Submit the samples to a state-certified laboratory for Bacteria testing (Total Coliform/E Coli.)
- If the well water sample comes up positive for E. Coli, follow well disinfection procedures, per the MSU Extension Water Quality office guidelines.
- As the effect of floods on well water can persist for months, follow up with routine testing to ensure your well water is safe for consumption.
The City-County Health Department has provided a few quick links to important topics, such as how to inspect your well and septic systems post-flood. Please click here or on the the link below the following image to be redirected to the guidance documents provided by the Health Department.
For more information on well-testing, please call the Local Water Quality District at (406) 582-3167 or the Gallatin City-County Health Department at (406) 582-3121.
For more information on flooding in Gallatin County, please visit the Gallatin County Emergency Management website: https://www.readygallatin.com/community-resources/preparedness-information/flooding-in-gallatin-county/
BOZEMAN SOLVENT STATE SUPERFUND SITE UPDATE
Kate Fry from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality delivered an update on the Bozeman Solvent Site State Superfund Remediation at GLWQD’s board meeting on Thursday, May 5th, 2022. A link to the slide presentation can be found HERE.
An audio recording of the meeting can be found HERE. Search ‘LWQD’ and choose the 05/05/2022 meeting on the Past Meetings tab.
2021 WATERSHED HEALTH SUMMARY – SURFACE WATER DATA AT A GLANCE
As part of the Surface Water Monitoring Network program, GLWQD develops regular Watershed Health Summaries that present surface water data from the Lower Gallatin Watershed in a non-technical format for all District residents.
To view the 2021 Watershed Health Summary, click HERE.
GALLATIN STREAM TEAMS IN THE NEWS
The Gallatin Stream Teams volunteer monitoring program was recently featured in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. This recognition is well-deserved, as Stream Teams volunteers are an invaluable component of GLWQD’s data collection efforts for the Surface Water Monitoring Network program. To read the story, click HERE.
GLWQD PUBLISHES 2020 GALLATIN STATE OF THE WATERS REPORT
The Gallatin Local Water Quality District has published the 2020 Gallatin State of the Waters Report. This report is produced every five years to update District citizens on GLWQD’s recent work, and to highlight important findings. Hard copies of the Report are available at the GLWQD office. To view an electronic copy, click HERE.
STATE RELEASES GUIDANCE VALUES FOR MANGANESE IN DRINKING WATER
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services have developed health-based guidance values for manganese in drinking water. Information on the health effects of manganese is an evolving science, and Montana is using a guidance value approach to help Montana families take voluntary steps to ensure that their drinking water is safe.
Because they are guidance values, there are no new or additional regulatory requirements for homeowners or public water systems, but District residents who use private wells as a drinking water source are encouraged to include manganese in their next recommended annual water quality screening. A DEQ/DPHHS factsheet can be found HERE. An associated derivation document is also available.
BIG SKY GROUNDWATER STUDY
A Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology (MBMG) Groundwater Investigation Program (GWIP) study is underway in the Upper Gallatin canyon area of Big Sky. To learn more about this study, take a look at the project fact sheet.
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: