Archive for March 22nd, 2010

by jhwygirl

Ravalli County Health Department is considering postponing the issuance of certain septic permits – in areas of known high groundwater – due to low snowpack, which ranges from 51% to 60%.

That number has now slipped to 50% in the Bitterroot (which equals the Lower Clark Fork basin, which is also at 50%.)

Groundwater monitoring is necessary to determine proper placement of septic fields. The state discourages groundwater monitoring if the April 1 to March 31 precipitation is less than 75 percent of normal.

Which means we’d have to get an awful lot of precipitation in the next few days here to reach that 75% threshold.

What does that mean for Missoula? Well, the Lower Clark Fork makes up much of Missoula County. The Lower Clark Fork basin is comprised of 3 sub-basins. You can check this map to see all of the basins.

I don’t know if any ya’all been up the Blackfoot lately – or in Seeley Lake, but spring has definitely sprung up there – and I caught dustclouds and a quad rolling on what is usually a snowmobile trail up there about three weeks ago.

With the state making recommendations – or discouraging (whatever that means — gotta love Montana’s laws when it comes to water quality, huh?) – to hold on testing when water equivalent is below 75%, that puts a wide area of the state at that less-than-75% threshold.

Of course, I don’t know that Missoula County is considering this – or if they’re even monitoring it…but I did find it interesting that Ravalli County was monitoring the situation and already discussing the actions that might be taken Given the situations appear to be very much the same, it seems a worthy question to ask.

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