Water Resources Cascade Conservation District - Cascade County Conservation District - Great Falls, Montana

How is Water Quality Determined?

Water quality is categorized by the source of the pollutants contained in the water.  There are two main types of sources, called point and non-point sources.  Point source pollutants come from a specific known location, such as a pipe from a factory or water treatment plant.  Nonpoint sources are more dispersed and variable, including such things as sediment running off unpaved roads, excess fertilizers or pesticides running off a farmer’s fields, or petroleum products washing off of parking lots and city streets.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established water quality standards for many known pollutants.  Nonpoint source pollutants are divided into different types.  The State of Montana is developing Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) values for the different types of NPS pollution so we can all work to protect our water sources.  Learn the answers to many questions about NPS from the EPA website http://www.epa.gov/owow/NPS/qa.html.

MDT’s Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permits

In January 2005, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a new general permit known as the Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit. The permit is required for urban areas within the state of Montana that have storm sewer systems that serve a population of at least 10,000 people. Read more about it here.

Maintaining a Healthy Riparian Buffer

Missoula Conservation District has a short booklet that explains through pictures the important functions of the riparian buffer.  Go to the Publications tab where you can download the booklet from the Missoula CD website.

Aquatic Invasive Species – Stop the Hitchhikers

Montanans and visitors need to be aware that aquatic diseases and invasive species can easily spread from one water body to the other.

Anglers, boaters and their equipment can transport these pests. It takes only one mistake to infest a new area. To protect Montana’s waters and native aquatic species, please follow these  3 simple guidelines: Clean, drain and dry.  For more information click on Aquatic Invasive Species or see the National Invasive Species Information Center