Montana Public Radio

Montana Department of Environmental Quality

Pipes gushing water.
Public domain.

A backlog in the review of water pollution permits within Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality is leading to an increased risk to public health and aquatic life. That’s according to an audit of the state’s pollution control program given to state lawmakers Friday.

Yankee Doodle Tailings Impoundment. Butte, MT. Oct. 3, 2018.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Thursday night, state environmental regulators are holding a public input meeting in Butte on Montana Resource’s application to expand the tailings impoundment next to their active copper mine there.

The viewing stand at the Berkeley Pit in September.
Nora Saks / MTPR

Construction on a long-awaited water treatment facility that will pump and treat toxic water from the Berkeley Pit officially began Monday in Butte.

Butte-Area Surface Water Features And Drainages.
Montana DEQ

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality wants public feedback on a mining company’s year old plan to expand the Yankee Doodle Tailings Impoundment above Butte.

Montana Resources wants to raise the height of the impoundment by 45 to 75 feet over about 336 acres.

Nick Mott

The latest fundraising reports say opponents of a ballot initiative aimed at protecting Montana waterways from mine pollution have raised about 25 percent more money than its supporters, despite not taking in any cash in August.

Tom Livers, has been named as Montana's new state budget director.
MontanaDEQ

Governor Steve Bullock named a new state budget director Thursday. Bullock is tapping the current head of the Department of Environmental Quality for the job as the state’s top accountant.

Evan Barrett, a member of Butte's local Restore Our Creek Coalition, looks at plans for the creek corridors with state budget director Dan Villa. August 30, 2018.
Nora Saks

On Thursday, August 30, about 60 people huddled around tables in the backroom of the Butte Brewing Company, not drinking, but pouring over maps of the Upper Silver Bow and Blacktail Creek corridors at the second in a series of community design workshops.

Dave Hutchins (L) and Daniel Hogan look over plans for the cleanup and restoration of the SIlver Bow Creek corridor with Julia Crain, a special projects planner with Butte-Silver Bow county's Superfund Division, June 12, 2018.
Nora Saks

This week, locals in Butte will have another chance to help design what the major creek corridors in town will look like after the Superfund cleanup is over.

The Upper Silver Bow and Blacktail Creek corridors, which run through the center of Butte, will probably look a lot different about five years from now.

Nora Saks

Scientists have long used fish and aquatic insects as ecological indicators to measure the success of the Superfund cleanup from Butte to Missoula. But as cleanup on the main stem of the Clark Fork River gets more complicated, the birders are getting involved.

CL-215 Superscooper Airplanes Drop Water on the Howe Ridge Fire in Glacier National Park, August 12, 2018.
Glacier National Park

Update 6:44 p.m.

Unhealthy air conditions were widespread in Montana today, prompting Air Quality Alerts in every county, according to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.

The DEQ announced this afternoon that smoke is affecting the entire state and air quality levels range from “unhealthy for sensitive groups” to “very unhealthy”.

The DEQ recommends the following for unhealthy air quality conditions:

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