Department of Environmental Quality

Recent Posts

Montanans wonder why state bears brunt of Bakken waste


More than a decade into the Bakken oil boom, the state of North Dakota, where the vast majority of the boom is concentrated, still does not have a single landfill licensed to accept radioactive oilfield waste. Montana does. Oaks Disposal operates a landfill 26 miles northwest of Glendive that has taken in nearly 350,000 tons of oilfield waste of all kinds since it opened in 2013. Two other landfills that could accept radioactive waste, one near Outlook and one near Culbertson, have been licensed by the state of Montana but have not yet opened. (more…) Continue Reading →

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City water treatment plant had discharge violations


As part of a project to expand and modernize the city’s wastewater treatment plant, failure to turn off several valves put the plant into noncompliance with state pollution-discharge limits for a short period in April. The city informed the state Department of Environmental Quality of the violations a few days later, and the DEQ’s environmental compliance inspector in Billings, Dan Freeland, said the city is unlikely to be penalized for the incident. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Abandoned mines’ ponds tapped in firefighting effort


During a firefighting operation in north-central Montana last month, helicopter crews hit the wildfire with water scooped from manmade ponds on the site of the abandoned Zortman-Landusky Mines. Last Best News contacted the Department of Environmental Quality after hearing rumors that the helicopters mistakenly used water from the ponds, and that the supposedly toxic water had damaged land in the path of the fire. (more…) Continue Reading →

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And a new way of looking at Butte

Butte mines

Ask and you shall receive. When I linked a few days ago to a New York Times graphic representation of the well bores underlying North Dakota, I said it would interesting to show “what all the underground mine shafts beneath Butte would look like if they were aboveground.” I also said: “In fact, if there is anyone out there who could help us with that, we’d love to hear from you.” (more…) Continue Reading →

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One-of-a-kind house: In the city, off the grid


When Randy and Janna Hafer finish their house on the North Side of Billings sometime next year, it won’t look all that different from other houses in the neighborhood. There will be one noticeable difference, though — the 23-foot-high wind turbine on the corner of their lot at North 23rd Street and Seventh Avenue North. (more…) Continue Reading →

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