WHITEHALL, Mont. - Since late 2015 tests identified higher-than-allowed levels of uranium in Whitehall's water. Notices sent to residents explained long-term exposure can cause cancer and kidney problems. Now the DEQ has given Whitehall officials just 45 days left to come up with a solution to fix it.
"While there is no immediate threat, we are considering all issues," said DEQ public policy director Kristi Ponozzo.
In order to fix the issue Whitehall has several options.
"Osmosis, distillation, ion exchange -- these are all options they will be looking at. Depending on which one they pick there are lots of variables to consider," she added.
We did some digging to find out what method would be most effective. According to freedrinkingwater.com osmosis is a filtering method that would remove the contaminant, and it would require less maintenance. The end decision is up to the town of Whitehall.
"They will come back to us with a plan and timeline, and we’ll work with them to make sure it’s appropriate and being implemented," said Ponozzo.
That's welcome news to people we talked with in Whitehall, but the trouble is no one knows how much it will cost or how it will be paid for. Right now the race is to find some way to get the uranium out of Whitehall's water.
The town has until April 1 to decide what they will do about the water problem.
Montana's 2015 health check on public water systems showed 305 violations for contaminants like arsenic, nitrates and byproducts of disinfectants. It showed 249 of those violations were fixed in 2015.