June 7, 2006

Missoula County has released an updated well inventory that takes stock of the wells whose levels could be impacted by drawdowns at the Milltown Reservoir. The county’s update of a 1995 inventory creates a database with information on well types, depth and pumps for more than 400 wells in the area.

Instructions on using the datase are included. The inventory is also available on CD through CFRTAC. Also check back soon for CFRTAC’s citizens’ guide to Milltown water quality monitoring data.

The county’s inventory will help identify high, medium and low priorities for drilling new wells or resetting pumps on existing wells. It will also help prioritize wells that will likely need work this summer and also those that may need it before the next drawdown.

The EPA has estimated that it will replace ten wells in the Milltown area in the next two months. Sometimes existing wells can be drilled deeper or new ones drilled, or pumps can be reset to a new depth or replaced with more efficient ones. Last fall, the drawdown needed to remove the Bonner Dam left seven wells high and dry. The EPA has since resolved those problems with water levels, and along with Missoula County, will respond to or prevent problems from occurring again during the upcoming drawdowns. Water levels in wells are the responsibility of the EPA under the cleanup settlement.

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