Groundwater Quality and Related Health Risks in the Upper Missouri Watershed, Madison County, Montana

Jordyn Cook, Emma Lauchner, Olivia Schwintek, William Monaghan, Taylor Saturday, and Dr. Margaret Eggers, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Montana State University, 173520 Bozeman, MT 59717

Water quality data for various Montana water resources are managed by the Montana Ground Water Information Center (GWIC). This publicly available online source provides sufficient data to assess various water contaminants and water quality characteristics for each watershed. For the Ruby River Basin, the GWIC groundwater data was analyzed to examine which water contaminants pose the greatest risks to public health. The results of this analysis may be included within a public report to be made available to Montana residents in order to improve the overall understanding of water quality related health risks. The groundwater data analysis started [M1] by excluding all GWIC data taken from site types other than wells, streams, and springs. Averages of contaminant levels and counts of contaminants exceeding their respective Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, along with cumulative risk assessments of primary contaminants, were calculated. It was found that arsenic, manganese and thallium posed the greatest health risks for the three site types within the Ruby River Basin. Lithium was also found to be of concern. Wells showed the highest averages for each contaminant, as well as the highest cumulative risk values with an average cumulative risk of 1.357 with 32 samples above a value of 1. Testing for well water contamination and properly disinfecting home wells are the responsibility of the well user. Access to comprehendible data on the quality of groundwater is crucial for communities with limited knowledge and financial resources to adequately assess their groundwater.


Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Jordyn Cook

Institution: Montana State University Bozeman

Type: Poster

Subject: Environmental Science & Sustainability

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 6
Date/Time: Tue 2:00pm-3:00pm
Session Number: 4639