Yellowstone Club fined by Montana DEQ for wastewater spill into Gallatin River

Aug. 25, 2017
Penalties amount to more than $90,000 for spilling 30 million gallons of treated wastewater in March 2016.

MONTANA, AUG 25, 2017 -- The company behind a private resort community in Montana has paid the state more than $90,000 in penalties for spilling nearly 30 million gallons of treated wastewater into the Gallatin River in March 2016.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality issued an administrative order this week that requires the Yellowstone Club to pay $93,739 in penalties. The company will also have to complete environmental projects to improve water quality in the area.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that in early March 2016, "an ice formation moved a pipe in one of the Yellowstone Club's wastewater ponds, creating a path for the water inside to leak. It sent millions of gallons of water down a hillside and into Second Yellow Mule Creek, a tributary of the West Fork of the Gallatin River. The water carried dirt and plant material into those streams and later into the Gallatin River."

Though the spill did not pose a risk to human health or wildlife in the area, the DEQ issued the penalty and fines for failure to comply with state water quality standards.

The total fine calculated for the spill was $256,700. DEQ and the Yellowstone Club agreed that the club would pay in cash 25 percent of that fine — $64,175 — and $29,564 to reimburse the state for the time it spent responding to the spill. In order to make up for the rest of the fine — $192,525 — the club agreed to complete projects that help improve or safeguard water quality in the area worth one-and-a-half times the remaining value. That comes to $288,788.

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