Program aims to limit septic pollution in Lake, Flathead counties

May 16 – The program aims to limit septic pollution in Counties Lake, Flathead

Property owners who live near bodies of water in Counties Lake and Flathead can receive reimbursement of up to $ 200 to cover the cost of maintaining their sewage treatment plants under a new protection program.

The Montana Association of Conservation Districts announced Friday that it has received a grant that will help landowners pay for pumping and inspection of septic tanks to reduce the risk of “pollution from non-point sources” that run the rivers , Lakes and streams in the area.

“As the area’s population grows, so does the number of septic tanks. Pollution from septic tanks is becoming an increasing threat to clean water in the Flathead Basin,” said Jillian Henrichon, a member of the Big Sky Watershed Corps administering the program.

“This program was designed with the aim of reducing the pollution of our waters from non-point sources from potentially faulty septic tanks,” she said. “Reducing the risk of septic pollution is particularly important in certain areas in and around Kalispell as both Ashley Creek and Spring Creek are considered to be compromised due to excess nutrients.”

In an email, Henrichon said the Montana Conservation Areas had received $ 70,000 in grants from the state Department for Environmental Quality, made possible through a federal program set up under the Clean Water Act. Of that, $ 30,000 will be used for septic tank maintenance and $ 40,000 for “program development, general education, and septic media outreach,” she said.

The program covers 50% of the cost of pumping and inspecting each sewer system, up to $ 200. A system is eligible if it has not been pumped for three years or more and is within 500 feet of a lake, river, or stream.

Property owners can select a pumping company, obtain a quote, and submit an application to the Flathead Conservation District at flatheadcd.org. Once approved, they can schedule a pumping and inspection, have the pumper fill out a reporting form, and send it back to the nature reserve for reimbursement.

Priority will be given to those in the Lake Mary Ronan, Ashley Creek, and Spring Creek watersheds. A map showing the boundaries of the water catchment areas can be found on the district’s website.

Reporter Chad Sokol can be reached at 758-4439 or [email protected]

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