Water

Compliance Inspections and Noncompliance Reporting

Compliance and reporting is critical to maintaining both Montana’s public water supply and the health of Montana lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands. DEQ conducts a variety of inspections and requires mandatory reporting to ensure compliance and protection of public health and Montana waters.

The purpose of a sanitary survey is to protect public health by ensuring a water system is able to consistently and reliably deliver an adequate quality and quantity of safe drinking water to the consumer and to maintain compliance with regulations.

To achieve this, the surveyor will evaluation eight key elements of a water system.

Eight Key Elements of a Sanitary Survey:

  • Source
  • Treatment
  • Distribution system
  • Finished water storage
  • Pumps, pump facilities, and controls
  • Monitoring, reporting, and data verification
  • System management and operation
  • Operator compliance with state requirements

In addition, technical assistance can be provided during the survey visit. This can be an opportunity to clarify proper monitoring and sampling requirements or procedures and be informed of any upcoming changes in regulations.

How Often are These Surveys Conducted?

Please refer to Sanitary Survey Fact Sheet for information on what to expect and how to prepare for an upcoming sanitary survey.

Community Water Systems
At least every three years

Non-Transient Community Water System
At least every three years

Transient Non-Community Water System
At least every five years

Contacts

Public Water Supply Field Services: (406) 444-6697
Greg Butts, Field Services Supervisor: (406) 755-8967

Missoula Office, Field Services:
Sandy Arnold (406) 541-9015


Melee Valett (406) 541-9016

Kalispell Office, Field Services:
Mike Kropp (406) 755-8971


Melissa Gosner (406) 755-8976

Billings Office, Field Services:
Karl Carlson (406) 247-4444


Jenny Erickson (406) 247-4438

DEQ is authorized by state law to require compliance with environmental laws, federal regulations, and state rules regulating surface water discharge and storm water permits. Compliance activities include traditional enforcement methods, such as inspections and public complaint response, as well as technical assistance.


Contacts

Water Protection Bureau: (406)-444-5546
Mindy McCarthy, Compliance Section Supervisor: (406)-444-0917

Noncompliance reporting is required when a permittee identifies condition(s) that are not in compliance with or when a permittee determines they will not be able to comply with a condition(s) of the Storm Water General Permit. Examples of noncompliance include: any noncompliance that may endanger health or the environment; a discharge of pollutants from the construction project site to state waters; failure of installed Best Management Practices (BMPs); and failure to conduct inspections.

Timelines to Report Noncompliance

Permittees are required to adhere to the following oral and written reporting timelines.

24-Hour Notification

The permittee must provide an oral report to the Compliance Inspector within 24 hours of first identifying the noncompliance. If the event of noncompliance occurs on a weekend, leave a message on the Water Protection Bureau’s main number: (406) 444-5546 or the Water Quality Division line at (406) 444-6697.

Written Report

A written report must be submitted to the Compliance Inspector within five days of the discovery of noncompliance. The Noncompliance Reporting Form must be completed and mailed to the address below within five days of the 24-hour oral report.

Department of Environmental Quality Water Protection Bureau
c/o (Name of Compliance Inspector)
P.O. Box 200901, Helena, MT 59620-0901

Contacts

Water Protection Bureau: (406)-444-5546
Mindy McCarthy, Compliance Section Supervisor: (406)-444-0917

An unintentional discharge of raw sewage from a sanitary sewer (sanitary sewer overflow), which does not occur at the designated waste water treatment plant outfall, can seriously endanger public health and contaminate waters, causing serious water quality problems.

Timelines to Report Noncompliance

Permittees are required to adhere to the following oral and written reporting timelines.

24-Hour Notification

Information must be provided orally to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) within 24 hours from the time the overflow was discovered. The 24-hour report of noncompliance must be made to the DEQ Water Protection Bureau at (406) 444-5546 or to the state Office of Disaster and Emergency services at (406) 841-3911.

Written Report

A written report must also be provided within five days from the time the overflow was discovered. All sanitary sewer overflows, no matter the circumstances or cause, must be reported to DEQ, even if you do not believe a violation has occurred. See the DEQ Sanitary Sewer Overflow Reporting Guidance and SSO Reporting Form for additional information regarding timelines and reporting requirements for a sanitary sewer overflow.

Contacts

Water Protection Bureau: (406)-444-5546
Mindy McCarthy, Compliance Section Supervisor: (406)-444-0917