June 1, 2006

The first permanent drawdown at the Milltown Reservoir begins today, June 1st. And though it’s a momentous occasion — essentially marking the start of work and the beginning of the end for the Milltown Dam — it was hardly a dramatic one. With high water and a full pool at the reservoir, the eight to ten foot drawdown won’t be noticeable until sometime in July.

The drawdown was set to coincide with the June high water mark, though that peak came about ten days earlier with the unseasonably hot weather in western Montana. The early high water flow may slow the drawdown somewhat but is not considered a problem, according to the EPA. Northwestern Energy, under EPA and Army Corps of Engineer supervision, will draw down the reservoir one foot a day for the first six feet and then six inches a day.

The drawdown is the first of three that will occur during the Milltown cleanup. The reservoir drawdown will allow for work on the bridge mitigation later this summer and the construction of haul roads and a rail spur in the fall. It will also allow additional time for the sediments that will be removed to drain before removal and shipment to the BP-ARCO repository near Opportunity.

Before the drawdown could begin, Envirocon, with the EPA and state’s approval, and input from the Milltown Design Review Team, had to complete several critical plans, including ones for monitoring the cleanup’s effect on ground and surface water, a design report, a site access and control plan as well as contingency plans for possible impacts to ground and surface water and irrigation intakes.

The final versions of these plans are available to the public online. Click on the following link ftp://public:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ and an ftp session should open in your internet browser.

1. You should see the folders “Stage 1 Drawdown FDR”; “Final RAMP”; and “Final Contingency Plans”. Open the FDR folder and a PDF file containing the FDR text, tables and figures plus a second PDF file containing the FDR appendices will appear. Open the RAMP folder and a PDF file containing the complete final RAMP will appear. Open the Contingency Plans folder and a subfolder for each of the three contingency plans will appear. Open each of these subfolders and a PDF file containing the applicable complete final contingency plan will appear
2. Drag and drop the desired files from the ftp window to your desktop (or other directory where you would like the files to reside) and allow them to download to your computer.
3. Do not attempt to open the files directly from the ftp window.

If you have any problems downloading these files call Zac Collins in EMC2’s Bozeman office at 406-522-0251 for technical support.

In addition, data from the surface water monitoring is accessible to the public at ftp://milltown.envirocon.com

Go to top