Montana Public Radio

water

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is advising people to limit the amount of fish they eat from Piedmont Pond south of Whitehall after elevated levels of arsenic were detected in the water.

Long term exposure to arsenic can cause cancer and skin lesions, according to the World Health Organization. It’s also been linked to negative cognitive development and death in young children.

In a press release on Sept. 22, FWP said women of child bearing age and children younger than seven shouldn’t eat more than one small fish from the pond per month.

This culvert and forebay pictured on May 28, 2019 are part of Butte's stormwater capture and treatment system, which will be expanded and completed in the  Superfund cleanup plan.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

A final deal signed by a federal judge this week outlining cleanup of century old mining waste in Butte means there’s going to be a flurry of work happening in the center of town. 

U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon on Wednesday gave his final stamp of approval to an overarching Superfund cleanup deal for the Butte Hill and its headwater streams below.

Trump Administration Finalizes Coal Plant Pollution Rollback

Aug 31, 2020
Coal ash waste at the Colstrip power plant.
Courtesy Alexis Bonogofsky - Montana Environmental Information Center

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration on Monday finalized its weakening of an Obama-era rule aimed at reducing pollution from coal-burning power plants that has contaminated streams, lakes and underground aquifers

The change will allow utilities to use cheaper technologies and take longer to comply with pollution reduction guidelines that are less stringent than what the agency originally adopted in 2015.

A pile of coal.
Flickr user oatsy40 (CC-BY-2)

The expansion of a British Columbia coal mine upstream of Lake Koocanusa and the Kootenai River will undergo review from the federal Canadian government. The decision handed down Wednesday will apply more scrutiny to the project.

A group of bipartisan state lawmakers released a letter Tuesday urging members of the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee to pass the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ water compact onto the full Senate as soon as possible.

Montana lawmakers were briefed on a draft legislative study about water rights in the age of climate change.

Montana may continue to see years or decades long droughts amid rising annual average temperatures, according to the study presented to the legislative Water Policy Interim Committee on July 13.

Drought conditions in Montana as of June 30, 2020.
Adam Hartman - NOAA/NWS/NCEP/CPC

Montana’s southern tier is experiencing drought conditions that are expected to intensify this summer. That’s according to the latest Montana Drought Forecast report, presented this week to the Governor’s Drought and Water Supply Advisory Committee.

Northwest and west central Montana started out dry in early spring but have recently benefited from lots of rain and cooler-than-normal temperatures.

Western Montana snow-water eqivalent for June 1, 2020.
Natural Resources Conservation Service

The federal government’s latest snowpack report is out, and heading into summer it’s a mixed bag for Montana.

The state of Montana released its draft environmental assessment for a waste disposal facility expansion at a hardrock mine in south central Montana and now seeks public comment.


A new report from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation is tentatively hopeful about Montana’s spring water outlook heading into fire season.

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