Ravalli County’s septic waste could soon run out of places to be dumped after limits imposed by Missoula’s wastewater treatment plant cut the septage dumped there by county pumpers in 2022 by almost half last year.
In 2023, as septic pumpers dealt with the new out-of-county septage limits, some have had weeks-long backlogs in dealing with regular waste from septic tanks, and another pumper regularly took a 300-mile round trip to Helena to dump off the septage during the busy months.
Conrad Eckert, owner of Eckert’s Patriot Pumpers, said Ravalli County could be as little as a week away from dealing with public health and safety issues resulting from limits on dumping.
Nate Gordon walks through the main level of the headworks building at the Missoula Wastewater Treatment Plant on Thursday, Jan. 11. Gordon is the lab pretreatment manager at the plant.
In a snowstorm, pumpers might not be able to access the regulated land application sites — often on farmland they spread septage on. That leaves pumpers to rely on the treatment plants for their septage, going to