- Associated Press - Saturday, March 12, 2016

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) - Scientists are evaluating the environmental impact of nearly 30 million gallons of treated wastewater that spilled into the Gallatin River, posing no threat to human health.

Department of Environmental Quality engineers found evidence the March 3 spill was caused by ice that built up and dislodged a pipe, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported (https://bit.ly/1nFwwXM ).

“Everything we’re seeing suggests that that’s pretty accurate,” DEQ director Tom Livers said.

Water flowed downhill, muddying the river during the weekend of March 5.

The spill came from a pond used to water the Yellowstone Club golf course. Club officials have said there was no safe way to stop the leak, so the pond was allowed to drain with the exception of 6 million gallons taken elsewhere.

The club will probably use cement to prevent future leaks, Livers said. The DEQ must approve the plan before work can start.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists looked for dead fish and took water samples on Thursday. The DEQ is testing water samples for E. coli, phosphorous and nitrogen.

Officials are also evaluating the impact the spill had on the soaked hillside.

“We’re close,” Livers said. “We want to get it right.”

A biologist says the main concern is that too much sediment may restrict fish breathing.

Montana Trout Unlimited executive director Bruce Farling said the spill may cause the deaths of young fish and could mean an algae bloom later in the summer.


Information from: Bozeman Daily Chronicle, https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com

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