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Mar 10, 2014


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Paul Driscoll


March 9 – 15 is National Groundwater Awareness Week


Helena — In conjunction with the National Groundwater Association, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is conducting public outreach during Groundwater Awareness Week, March 9 to March 15, 2014. Throughout the week, TV, radio, and newspaper spots in the larger cities will inform the public about the importance of groundwater and groundwater protection, particularly when drilling a new drinking water well, but also for established wells.

On Saturday, March 15, open houses will be held at Murdoch's Home and Ranch Supply stores in seven cities, from noon to 3:00 p.m. Drill rigs and associated equipment will be on hand and drillers and professional staff will answer questions about groundwater protection and drilling drinking water wells. Look for the equipment at Murdoch stores in Kalispell, Missoula, Hamilton, Helena, Butte, Bozeman, and Miles City.

Groundwater Awareness Week was launched 15 years ago to offer a concerted educational effort about the importance of groundwater to communities and individuals. In some Montana counties far more than half of households are served by private wells. No government agencies monitor the quality of private well water and it is up to the homeowner to test water quality. Take a close look at your wellhead and well cap. Make sure a low spot has not developed around your well head where snow runoff or rainwater can accumulate.

"Your well cap is the first line of defense against contamination," said Joe Meek, DEQ's section manager for the Source Water Protection Program. "It should be both insect-proof and secure."

If your water comes from a well, Meek adds, an annual maintenance check is best performed in the spring when bacteria and nitrates are more likely to infiltrate. Contact the National Groundwater Association at 800-551-7379 or visit: A qualified contractor can assure your well is safe and running right. Montana State University Extension Services offers the "Well Educated Program" at: For information about water quality in Montana, visit the DEQ's Water Quality Information site at:

Paul Driscoll
Public Information Officer
DEQ Planning, Prevention and Assistance

Chris Saeger
Communications Director
Montana Department of Environmental Quality
Office: 406-444-2667
Mobile: 406-461-6183

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