DEQ Press Releases

Driscoll, Paul

DEQ Invites Comments on Iron Surface Water Quality Study for Otter Creek

Two Public Meetings Planned in Billings and Miles City

Helena – The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is seeking comment on a study of iron concentrations in Otter Creek. Public meetings are planned for late October in Miles City and Billings.

Otter Creek is located in southeast Montana, mainly within Powder River County, with small portions of the watershed in Big Horn and Rosebud counties. Otter Creek is a tributary to the Tongue River, and joins the Tongue near Ashland, Montana.

DEQ determined that Otter Creek is not meeting Montana’s water quality standard for iron and therefore developed a total maximum daily load (TMDL) that provides the maximum amount of iron that Otter Creek can receive and still meet Montana’s water quality standard for iron. The draft “Otter Creek Iron TMDL” discusses the health of Otter Creek in relation to iron concentrations in the stream, discusses sources of the iron, and provides a TMDL to help address the problem.

A public meeting to provide information about the document and to answer questions will be held October 21, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. at the Miles Community College, located at 2715 Dickinson Street in Miles City. A second meeting will be held October 22, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. at the Bureau of Land Management Billings Field Office, located at 5001 Southgate Drive in Billings. If you attend the Billings meeting, please bring a government-issued photo ID for checking in at the front desk, and please park in the Employee parking lot. Please note that neither meeting is a hearing, and that the document does not address or contain information about salinity water quality concerns.

The draft document is available on the DEQ web site at: and copies are available at the Billings, Broadus, and Miles City public libraries, the Dr. John Woodenlegs Memorial Library in Lame Deer, and the Montana State Library in Helena. Comments will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. October 30, 2015, and may be mailed to DEQ, P.O. Box 200901, Helena, MT 59620, or submitted electronically at: Written comments may also be provided at the public meetings.

Please refer to Montana’s Water Quality Planning Projects web site for additional details on the Otter Creek TMDL Project at: For more information, contact Christina Staten at (406) 444-2836 or by email at: DEQ will make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who wish to participate in this meeting. If you require special accommodation, please contact Alex Smietanka at or (406) 444-6749 no later than October 14, 2015.

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