County plans to alter rules on Seeley Lake Special Management Area

The Missoula Health Board will likely propose new changes to the Seeley Lake Special Management Area this year after the county said nitrates in the groundwater have been running above state-approved levels.During its Feb. 15 meeting, the health board discussed the future of the town’s sewage treatment, which has been county-managed since 2011. Last fall, the health department added restrictions on septic systems with no public process.”The circumstances changed again,” said Jeanna Miller, an environmental health manager for the county, at Thursday’s meeting. “Most specifically, that we received the first couple rounds of nitrate sampling data from the Seeley sewer district.”Miller said the county’s proposed changes will likely center on how it will approve future septic systems and change the boundaries of the SMA. She noted that the county will help out with groundwater monitoring, and will use the data to propose new rules over the district. These rules would have to be approved by the health board. Longtime problemSeeley Lake, roughly 50 miles northeast of Missoula and home to 1,500 people, does not have a sewer system. Voters denied a plan to install a sewer for the main town in 2021. Instead, individual residents must use septic tanks to dispose

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