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Groundwater Contamination in Montana

Groundwater Contamination in Montana

Leaking underground storage containers like septic tanks, abandoned hazardous waste sites, municipal landfills, and agricultural runoff from farms and ranches. These are just some of the many sources of groundwater contamination in Montana. The concerning aspect of this polluted water is that it has made its way into the taps of individual families’ homes and even, in some cases, reached entire neighborhoods and communities.

Those who have come into contact with this contaminated water have had their health adversely impacted by it or may in the future. This has been a big motivator for our legal team at Western Justice Associates, PLLC for more than two decades to fight for everyday Montanans who have been harmed by corporate polluters and we’re not giving up now. We want to help you hold accountable those parties who turned a blind eye to your health and safety in hopes that it sends a message to them and others not to do the same.

If groundwater contamination has had a negative impact on your life, reach out to our law firm so we can discuss your rights, including legal remedies you pursue that may aid you in covering the medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages you’ve already incurred or may do so in the future. That initial consultation with an attorney from our office is completely free, and you won’t owe anything for them to represent you unless they secure a settlement on your behalf. So, call us for a complimentary case review now.

Types of Contaminants in Our Groundwater

According to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), some of the contaminant sources referenced earlier on this page are known to contain the following contaminants and thus are closely monitored by the state agency to minimize the chances of them getting into the public water system:

  • Solvents
  • Microbial contaminants
  • Metals
  • Nitrate
  • Herbicides
  • Some fuels
  • Pesticides

Most Notable Montana Contamination Sites

There are various sites that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines as groundwater contamination superfund sites in Montana or that other government agencies or watchdog groups view similarly, including:

  • Libby Ground Water Contamination Site: Located in Lincoln County, this location served as a plywood and lumber mill from 1946 to 1969. Laborers used toxic chemicals, including pentachlorophenol (PCP) and creosote, to treat wood there.
  • Bozeman Solvent Site: Located in central Bozeman at the former Buttrey Shopping Center (now Hastings Shopping Center), environmentalists have identified high concentrations of tetrachloroethene (PCE), a common chemical contained in dry cleaning solvents, in the soil and groundwater there. According to the Gallatin Local Water Quality District, researchers have identified a former dry cleaner as the source of the chemical, which they’ve also discovered seeped into the area’s groundwater through its former sewer line and septic system.
  • Idaho Pole Company Superfund Site: An 87-acre site located in northeast Bozeman, this facility fabricated and treated utility poles with PCP and creosote in 1945 and did so up until at least 1978 when the wood-treating fluid was identified in the soil lining the ditch nearby the facility, which nestled up to Rocky Creek.
  • Lockwood Solvent Groundwater Plume: Located along the outer edges of Billings, this 580-acre site is now occupied by Beall Trailers of Montana and Soco West (previously known as Brenntag West Inc.) previously manufactured and performed repair work on tanker trucks responsible for transporting asphalt. The facility’s workers cleaned trailers under their care with industrial solvents, which contained now-known toxins such as benzene and chlorine-based products. Those substances leaked into the floor drains at the facility between 1978 and 1990 before being transported into their septic system, which is how they made it into our groundwater supply.
  • East Helena Site: Groundwater near this superfund site in Lewis and Clark County became contaminated by at least a century of lead and zinc smelting in the area. EPA researchers have identified high levels of arsenic and selenium in the groundwater at or near this site. Affected by this plume are City of East Helena offices and area agricultural lands and residential subdivisions.

While the superfund sites above are certainly some of the most-known ones in our state, they’re definitely not the only ones. There are ample sites where groundwater contamination in Montana has been identified, putting those living in these areas at risk. If you are concerned that you reside in one of these areas, get in touch with our legal team to discuss your options for holding negligent parties liable for your exposure to these toxic substances.

Dangers Associated with Groundwater Pollution

Contaminants found in groundwater that make it into private wells and our public water supply pose many dangers to all beings, including fish, wildlife, livestock, pets, and humans. Known health impacts of some of the contaminants discussed above, and others found in our water, include the onset of:

  • Nervous system damage, which can affect the brain
  • Kidney or liver failure
  • Endocrine system disruptions
  • Reproductive issues, including infertility or birth defects
  • Cancer

Of course, if you’ve been diagnosed with one of these illnesses or faced one of these health setbacks, you know how costly, time-consuming, emotionally draining, and altogether life-altering dealing with something like one of the above conditions or something similar can be. While there’s little that you can do to change the hand you were dealt, you can potentially improve your outlook and the plight of others by taking legal action to stop companies that caused these contamination issues in the first place.

Settlements We’ve Secured on Behalf of Our Clients

When it comes to settling water contamination cases, our law firm, Western Justice Associates, PLLC leads the pack in terms of our success in securing some of the largest settlements in our region. Two awards we previously secured on behalf of our clients that we’re most proud of include:

  • $25 million settlement in a groundwater contamination case we’d filed against Pennsylvania Power and Light
  • $2 million settlement in a pipeline spill case (that fed into the Yellowstone River) against Exxon Mobile

However, since our firm’s inception more than 20 years ago, we’ve secured many multi-million dollar settlements against corporations who not only desecrated the West’s vital natural resources but had no qualms about putting their fellow residents’ health and lives and that of their pets, livestock, and land at risk as well.

What You Can Expect When You Hire an Attorney

Since our attorneys have been handling contamination cases and environmental legal matters for so long, we’ve been able to build a team of outside experts that we can rely on to help us thoroughly investigate these legal matters necessary to amass evidence of wrongdoing and put forward a strong case that warrants maximum compensation. Those experts are:

  • Toxicologists
  • Hydrologists
  • Engineers
  • Industrial hygienists
  • Crop experts
  • Botanists

Since many of the corporations we go up against are big-name businesses, it’s necessary for our legal team to make sure we leave no stone unturned when pursuing negligent parties, and that’s what our collaboration with the experts listed above allows us to do. This also explains why we highly discourage individuals who are personally affected by groundwater contamination in Montana from trying to take on these companies unilaterally.

There’s no comparison to a defendant’s high-powered legal team other than your own. That’s what you’ll get when you reach out to Western Justice Associates, PLLC for help with a contamination issue. Our entire team will advocate for your interests at every step of the way. Contact us for an initial consultation at no cost to you.

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