Voice of the River

Schedule a Well Checkup in Honor of National Groundwater Awareness Week

Did you know that in rural areas in the United States, including Big Sky, about 96% of the population depends on groundwater for their drinking water supply1?

To recognize the importance of groundwater, the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) observed National Groundwater Awareness Week on March 5-11, 2017. The Gallatin River Task Force celebrated by handing out well test kits at the Big Sky Post Office and educating Ophir Elementary students about the groundwater system.

The Big Sky Water and Sewer District serves the best tasting water in the country to the Meadow Village, Town Center, and Mountain Village. Big Sky residents living outside their district boundary rely on well and septic systems to meet their water supply and wastewater treatment needs. Click here to watch a short video on Big Sky water supply.

Community members with onsite water supply and wastewater treatment systems avoid monthly utility bills, but it is their responsibility to ensure that their system is working properly and delivering clean drinking water.

“Just as you check your furnace or smoke detector batteries seasonally, spring is a good season to have an annual well checkup before the peak water use season begins,” recommends the National Ground Water Association (NGWA).

According to the National Groundwater Association, a check of your well by a qualified water well contractor may include:

  • A flow test to determine system output, along with a check of the water level before and during pumping (if possible), pump motor performance (check amp load, grounding, and line voltage), pressure tank and pressure switch contact, and general water quality (odor, cloudiness, etc.).
  • A well equipment inspection to assure it’s sanitary and meets local code.
  • A test of your water for coliform bacteria and nitrates, and anything else of local concern. Other typical additional tests are those for iron, manganese, water hardness, sulfides, and other water constituents that cause problems with plumbing, staining, water appearance, and odor.

In addition, experts recommend that well owners protect your well by:

  • Keeping hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides, and motor oil far away from your well, and maintaining a “clean” zone of at least 50 feet between their well and any kennels and livestock operations.
  • Maintaining proper separation between your well and buildings, waste systems, and chemical storage areas.
  • Periodically checking the well cover or well cap on top of the casing (well) to ensure it is in good repair and securely attached. Its seal should keep out insects and rodents.
  • Keeping your well records in a safe place. These include the construction report, and annual water well system maintenance and water testing results.

To pick up a well test kit or for more information, call the Gallatin River Task Force at # (406) 993 – 2519 or stop by the office 57855 Gallatin Road, Suite 4, Gallatin Gateway, MT 59730.

1 National Ground Water Association


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