Study finds high arsenic levels in some area waterways

Lewis and Clark Public Health / Helena Independent Record

The Helena Valley showed high arsenic levels that exceeded drinking water standards in three local surface waters — Tenmile Creek, Prickly Pear Creek, and the Helena Valley irrigation canal, according to a recent water quality study by the Water Quality Protection District, Lewis and Clark County health officials said.

The results of this study to not apply to residents on public water systems, which are regulated by the state.

“There are different sources of arsenic in the Helena Valley that can affect both shallow and deep groundwater wells,” Lewis and Clark Public Health Water Quality Specialist Madeline McKeefry said in a news release from Lewis and Clark Public Health. “Residents who are on private wells should get their water tested for arsenic and uranium.”

The Lewis and Clark County Water Quality Protection District (WQPD) offers free arsenic and uranium test kits. If results show arsenic or uranium present in concentrations above the drinking water standard, homeowners will be eligible for up to a $300 reimbursement if they choose to install a treatment system.

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