Yellowstone Club Spill
Report Released for the First Phase of Monitoring after the Yellowstone Club Wastewater Effluent Spill
The Gallatin River Task Force completed a report for the initial phase of monitoring after Yellowstone Club wastewater effluent spill. Data results indicate that Montana health standards were not exceeded at any of the sampling sites during the monitoring period. Aquatic life standards were exceeded for ammonia and sediment.
On Thursday, March 3, 2016, a mechanical failure in a storage pond for tertiary treated wastewater discharged approximately 30 million gallons of treated effluent into Second Yellow Mule Creek and subsequently the Gallatin River. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) detected 18 pharmaceutical chemicals and breakdown products in water spilling directly from the Yellowstone Club wastewater pond and 11 chemicals in the downstream tributaries. Pharmaceutical concentrations measured after the Yellowstone Club Spill were below levels predicted to affect human health. DEQ results recorded an anti-convulsant and mood stabilizer, carbamazepine, and an antibiotic, sulfamethoxazole, at levels that could harm fish and stream insects.
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) released analyses of water quality and fish population results and concluded that aquatic life was affected by the Yellowstone Club spill. According to the DEQ, ammonia, turbidity, and total suspended solids surpassed levels predicted to affect aquatic life. Limited fish mortality corroborated water quality data.
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) released some of the results of their water quality monitoring and concluded that no human health standards were exceeded in the streams affected by the Yellowstone Club Spill.
On Thursday, the Task Force joined a team led by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) to survey fish population on the South Fork of the West Fork (South Fork). Overall, the fish population appeared relatively healthy. Our team found 5 dead trout immediately downstream from the confluence with Second Yellow Mule Creek. Many sculpin showed evidence of fin erosion, related to high levels of suspended sediment carried downstream from the steep slopes exposed below the pipe failure.
Recent events have demonstrated the importance of the Gallatin River Task Force Community Water Quality Monitoring Program. Thanks to volunteers like you, the Task Force was able to pinpoint the start and duration of the Yellowstone Club wastewater effluent spill and provide meaningful historical data that is being used to evaluate the impacts of the incident.
Help us continue this valuable work! Join the Task Force at an upcoming monitoring event: April 6th, 7th, and/or 8th to collect baseline water quality data for the Upper Gallatin River Watershed.
Help the Task Force to continue to be the local source for water resource information. Join us April 6th, 7th, and/or 8th to help collect baseline water quality data for the Upper Gallatin RIver Watershed.
The Big Sky Water & Sewer District held a special board meeting to address the Yellowstone Club Spill. The meeting was open to the public. The District plans to hold future evening informational meetings for the public.
Important information on the scope of the well testing program in the aftermath of the YC Spill.
Yesterday, the cause of the Yellowstone Club Effluent Spill was determined. Ice completely severed the outlet structure causing rapid flow that damaged the outlet pipe and pond lining.
Great news! The discharge from the Yellowstone Club wastewater effluent storage pond stopped at around 4:30 am this morning.
For homeowners with wells adjacent to streams affected by the Yellowstone Club effluent spill: if you are concerned about water quality in your well, the Yellowstone Club will cover the testing costs. Bring your well test kits to the Big Sky Water & Sewer District OR to Bridger Analytical Laboratory: 7539 Pioneer Way, Bozeman, MT 59718.
At the Gallatin River Task Force, it is our mission to provide timely, scientifically accurate water quality information to the general public. We will use this web page to publish frequent updates as we monitor and assess the aftermath of the wastewater effluent spill on Yellowstone Club property. But first, a recap!
For More Information:
- South Fork Real Time Data
- 2015 Upper Gallatin River Watershed Water Quality Report
- Gallatin River Task Force Yellowstone Wastewater Effluent Spill Phase 1 Monitoring Report
- Montana Department of Environmental Quality
- Big Sky Water and Sewer District
- Explore Big Sky
- Yellowstone Club
- Yellowstone Club FAQ