Saturday, August 13, 2022

Letter to the Editor: What’s in your water?

| September 30, 2021 12:05 AM

What’s in your water?

Montana, the beautiful state with clean water and pristine lakes, right? Wrong. Imagine getting a routine water test done only to find out your drinking water isn’t potable. I thought we had some of the cleanest water in the states. Well, that myth has been busted.

Here in Woods Bay, an un-zoned portion of Lake County, old septic systems are grandfathered in with no improvements required. This means even a commercial business surrounded by a residential neighborhood and located a block from Flathead Lake can continue to operate on an undocumented, 60-year-old septic system with no upgrades.

I am required to provide safe/potable drinking water for potential guests as a registered Airbnb business in Montana. Yet a commercial business across the street can run hundreds more guests through each year with a septic system that is old and undocumented. This reality is ours as well as our neighbors living around this business. We all have had water test results returned as unsafe to drink.

Montana tourism has exploded since the 1960s, overloading old septic systems. A lot of these systems are polluting Flathead Lake. How long will these outdated systems be allowed to contaminate our environment?

It’s past time for Lake County to require old, inadequate septic systems to meet current regulations — for our homes, for our businesses and for the quality of the great resource that Flathead Lake is for all of us.

— Julie Howard, Bigfork

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