Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Montana news about the environment, natural resources, wildlife, climate change and more.

Three million gallons of wastewater has leaked into Warm Springs Creek

Three million gallons of partially treated wastewater has leaked into Warm Springs Creek. The spill happened during upgrades to the water treatment plant at the Montana State Hospital.

Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) ordered contractors to stop their work after the leak was discovered in June.

The Montana State Hospital has a permit to release treated wastewater into the Warm Springs Creek, but Rebecca Harbage, with the DEQ, said the water released from the contractor's work violated portions of that permit.

“It did violate for pH and then it violated for total suspended solids. But things like E coli did not violate their permit limits,” Harbage said.

Harbage said there are no short-term human health effects or impacts on water quality at this time. She said the DEQ also doesn’t expect any future effects, since the leak has been stopped.

Missouri River Contractors now have until August 1 to respond to the violation and provide corrective actions, before any construction can resume.

Ellis Juhlin is MTPR's Rocky Mountain Front reporter. Ellis previously worked as a science reporter at Utah Public Radio and a reporter at Yellowstone Public Radio. She has a Master's Degree in Ecology from Utah State University. She's an average birder and wants you to keep your cat indoors. She has two dogs, one of which is afraid of birds.
Become a sustaining member for as low as $5/month
Make an annual or one-time donation to support MTPR
Pay an existing pledge or update your payment information