GLWQD OFFICE IS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC
Due to COVID-19 in Gallatin County and around the state, GLWQD remains closed for walk-in service. We are still available to assist you by phone, and are happy to make arrangements for well test pickup just outside our office doors. Please call (406) 582-3168 for more details.
UPDATED RESOURCE: HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE & E-WASTE DISPOSAL IN GALLATIN VALLEY
Proper disposal of household hazardous waste and electronic waste (e-waste) helps convert waste materials into new materials, which reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills. It can also have positive impacts on water and air quality. GLWQD has compiled an updated guide to proper disposal and recycling of these types of materials. Updated information is available as a printable brochure and a factsheet. The Gallatin Solid Waste Management District also has great information on recycling, site hours and locations, and recycling events happening in Gallatin Valley, including their Free E-Waste Collection Event on April 24th from 8am-2pm.
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.
WATERSHED HEALTH SUMMARY DELIVERS SURFACE WATER DATA AT A GLANCE
As part of the Surface Water Monitoring Network program, GLWQD will be developing regular Watershed Health Summaries that will present surface water data from the Lower Gallatin Watershed in a non-technical format aimed at enhancing the layman’s understanding of watershed health.
To view the 2019/2020 Watershed Health Summary, click HERE.
FREE WATER RESOURCE LESSONS FOR KIDS LEARNING AT HOME
The Groundwater Foundation offers a variety of lessons and activities for parents and educators. These great resources are organized by topic, and available HERE. Engage your kids in groundwater education while schools are closed!
MT BUREAU OF MINES & GEOLOGY REPORT AVAILABLE: HYDROGEOLOGIC INVESTIGATION OF THE FOUR CORNERS AREA
MBMG has released an interpretive report for their hydrologic investigation of the Four Corners area. The report addresses potential effects to groundwater from land-use changes, increased residential development, and potential future changes to the groundwater system. The full report is available HERE.
FINAL REPORT AVAILABLE: A MULTI-TRACER APPROACH TO THE INVESTIGATION OF HUMAN WASTEWATER IN BOZEMAN AND MATTHEW BIRD CREEKS
This report details the results of a collaborative effort of GLWQD, Gallatin County City-County Health Department Environmental Health Services, and Montana State University. The project aimed to engage MSU Environmental Health students and determine if concentrations of E. coli, optical brighteners, and other potential human wastewater tracers identified through mass spectrometry correlate spatially with areas of suspected septic contamination in Bozeman and Matthew Bird Creeks. The full report is available HERE.
BOZEMAN ADOPTS URBAN RENEWAL DISTRICT AT IDAHO POLE SITE
The City of Bozeman has created an Urban Renewal District (URD) at the site of the former Idaho Pole utility pole treating facility area in northeast Bozeman. In 1986, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated the Idaho Pole Company site as a federal Superfund Site on the National Priorities List because the site was found to have contaminated soils and groundwater, which led to the subsequent treatment of contaminated surface soils on the site to commercial/industrial standards. In February 2020, the EPA announced deletion of the surface and unsaturated subsurface soils from the National Priorities List.
URDs provide a tool for local governments to address many issues, including elimination of the conditions that contribute to blight, creating opportunity to invest in public infrastructure in support of economic development, and attaining urban density to ensure efficient delivery of public services.
Click HERE to view the City of Bozeman’s webpage hub, designed to help citizens learn more about URDs, blight, and potential environmental considerations and responsibilities at the site.
To learn more about the history of the Idaho Pole Company Superfund Site, click HERE.
BELGRADE AREA ZONING REGULATION DEVELOPMENT
A process in underway to gather input on zoning development within the 4.5 mile area surrounding the City of Belgrade, or the Extraterritorial Planning Area. Find out more and get involved in the process through beheardbelgrade.com.
COVID-19 AND YOUR DRINKING WATER
While no research has occurred in Gallatin County, studies from other parts of the country have failed to detect the virus that causes COVID-19 in private wells or public drinking water systems. Fecal contamination would be the most likely source of the COVID-19 virus in drinking water, but the risk of catching COVID-19 from the feces of an infected person appears to be low, according to the World Health Organization.
The most effective protection against viral contamination of a well water supply is regular maintenance of both well and septic system infrastructure. A proper sanitary seal around the well casing is essential to block contaminants that might migrate from the land surface down the outside of the casing to the water table, bypassing the unsaturated zone that naturally helps cleanse groundwater.
In addition, GLWQD recommends annual testing for E. coli bacteria in all private wells used for drinking water. This relatively low-cost test is an indicator that conditions might exist to allow other pathogens into your well.
Click HERE for more information on well testing.
LOWER GALLATIN CHOSEN AS THE NEXT WATERSHED FOR FOCUSED RESTORATION FUNDING BY MT DEQ
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has chosen the Lower Gallatin Watershed as its next priority basin. This means approximately $500,000 will be available to address impairment issues in the watershed’s streams and rivers.
DEQ hosts a Water Quality Planning Projects Page, where more information and regular project updates are posted.
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: