Groundwater Remediation/Water Quality Act (WQA) Program

What Is WQA?

The Water Quality Act (WQA) Program is responsible for oversight of remediation at sites contaminated with petroleum, pesticides, and solvents. Sites range from small to large in scale and are ranked as maximum, high, medium, or low priority sites, or as operation and maintenance sites.

WQA Legislation

The Water Quality Act Program (Groundwater Remediation Program) uses the following parts of the Montana Water Quality Act: 75-5-101 et seq., MCA. The program uses the following Adminstrative Rules of Montana: ARM 17.30.1001, 1005-1007, 1010-1011, and 1045 and ARM 17.30.601 et seq.

WQA History

In 1996, due to the reorganization of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the former Water Quality Division and Groundwater Program were disbanded.  Long-term groundwater remediation sites not associated with permitting, underground storage tanks, or Comprehensive Environmental Cleanup and Responsibility Act (CECRA-State Superfund) were transferred to the DEQ Remediation Division.  These long-term sites range from petroleum tanker truck wrecks to catastrophic petroleum pipeline ruptures to pesticide sites.  The former Groundwater Program sites, along with any new sites, now reside in the Hazardous Waste Site Cleanup Bureau, State Superfund Unit, Groundwater Remediation Program.  Groundwater Remediation Program sites are regulated pursuant to the Montana Water Quality Act (WQA) or the Montana Agricultural Chemical Groundwater Protection Act (ACGWPA).

The WQA Process

Sites regulated under the WQA (contained in 75-5-101 et seq., MCA) are addressed by the Groundwater Remediation Program. These sites typically require long-term soil, surface water, and/or groundwater remediation and monitoring. This program addresses sites that are not addressed by the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Program, CECRA Program, various permitting programs, or other state authorities.

The Groundwater Remediation Program works cooperatively with the Department of Agriculture when pesticides impact groundwater. The Montana Agricultural Chemical Ground Water Protection Act regulates investigation and cleanup of sites contaminated with agricultural chemicals. The Program uses the following parts of the Montana Agricultural Chemical Ground Water Protection Act:

Current WQA Facilities

Currently, the Groundwater Remediation Program is addressing the sites listed on the "WQA Priority List” available sorted by Facility Name, City, or County.

Other WQA Information

The Department's Groundwater Remediation Program Contact:

Laura Alvey
DEQ - Remediation Division
PO Box 200901
Helena, MT 59620-0901
(406) 444-0212

The following are general requirements for work plans prepared for WQA sites, and are not meant to be inclusive for all sites:

  • maps of site showing general area of release, detailed map of release area showing topography, watershed features, structures, etc.;
  • summary of the site, including how release/contamination occurred or was discovered, description of cleanup/remediation activities at the site, details of individuals and parties involved, other pertinent information;
  • detailed description of future activities at the site including excavation and other remediation activities, well drilling and sampling, soil sampling, analytical tests to be run on samples; and
  • schedule of activities at the site.

The following are general requirements for reports prepared for WQA sites, and are not meant to be inclusive for all sites:

  • maps of site showing general area of release, detailed map of release, potentiometric-surface maps that show groundwater elevation and flow, structures, and a plume map for each sampling event which shows (at a minimum) isopleth lines depicting the Required Reporting Value and the DEQ-7 Standard for the contaminants driving cleanup;
  • summary of the site including how release/contamination occurred or was discovered, description of cleanup/remediation activities at the site, details of individuals and parties involved, other pertinent information;
  • detailed description of work done at the site including who/what/when/where/how and should include sampling and analytical work;
  • figures and tables that summarize results;
  • a detailed discussion of the results;
  • conclusions and recommendations;
  • all analytical results accompanied by the following: chain of custody papers; a description of Quality Assurance/Quality Control information including holding times and temperatures, sample preservation, sample validation, any analytical problems, etc.;
  • raw data; and
  • review of potential receptors within a 1/4 mile radius and/or a 1/2 mile radius. This review is especially critical when the release has the potential to impact drinking water.

Supporting Documents and Reports

Water Quality Act Forms and Reports 

Priority Ranking Sheet