2021 Water Quality Report


Montana Public Water Supply ID number 00318

2021 Water Quality Report


In a continuing effort to keep you informed about the quality of water and services we provide to you each day; we are once again pleased to provide you with our Annual Water Quality Report. This report is a snapshot of the quality of water we provided you last year. It includes details regarding the source of your water, what your water contains and how it compares to EPA and the State of Montana standards.

Our water comes from two wells and from Middle Crow Creek. The shop well is 454 feet deep, and the north well is 380 feet deep. The water from Crow Creek is ultrafiltered and disinfected with a powerful ultraviolet light. Then we add a small amount of chlorine to maintain the disinfection in our distribution system. We currently have 995 service connections on our system. We added 30 new service connections last year. In a continuing effort to maintain and improve our system, we installed 600 feet of new water main in the Peaks Subdivision last year.

We want you, our valued customers to be informed about your water utility. If you want to learn more, please attend any of our regularly scheduled meetings held on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall (207 Main Street SW Suite A). We are pleased to report that our drinking water is safe and meets all federal and state requirements. If you have any questions about this report or concerning your water utility, please contact Daniel Miller at Ronan City Hall at (406) 676-4231. Chris Atkinson is our certified operator with 10 years of experience. He attends periodic training sessions to meet continuing education requirements. The most recent training he received was in 2021 and the topics included source water protection planning, emergency repairs, and safety.

DID YOU KNOW? The sources of drinking water (both tap and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive elements. Water can also pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity.

Contaminants that may be present in water include:

  • Microbial contaminants such as viruses and bacteria which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations and wildlife.
  • Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals which can be naturally occurring or result from urban storm water runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, and farming.
  • Pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban storm water runoff, and residential uses.
  • Volatile organic chemicals, which are byproducts of industrial processes, petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban storm water runoff, and septic systems.
  • Radioactive contaminants, which can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities.

In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the EPA prescribes regulations which limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. FDA regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water which must provide the same protection for public health. The City of Ronan routinely monitors for constituents in your drinking water according to Federal and State laws. We take all of our water samples to Montana Environmental Laboratory in Kalispell (406-755-2131). They are a private laboratory that is certified by the State of Montana and the EPA to analyze drinking water. In keeping with our monitoring schedule, the following tests were conducted from January 1st to December 31st, 2021:


  • 29 Coliform bacteria tests.
  • One nitrate plus nitrite test on each of our water sources – results were within EPA guidelines.
  • Arsenic tests on two of our water sources – results were within EPA standards.
  • Tests on Middle Crow Creek (EP502) to determine the possible presence of 61 organic contaminants – none were detected.
  • Tests on the water from our distribution system to determine the possible presence of 10 disinfection byproducts – none were detected.
  • One asbestos test on the water from our distribution system – none was detected.


Due to the purity of our water, we have applied for and been issued a monitoring waiver for ten inorganic contaminants on the shop well (EP503) and Crow Creek (EP502). This waiver allows our system to sample those water sources only once every nine years for these contaminants. Past sampling has shown that these contaminants are either not present in our water or occur in such small amounts that they do not warrant a health hazard. This waiver covers the period from 2020 to 2028.

The following table lists the contaminants detected during recent testing. Some of our data in the table is more than a year old, since certain chemical contaminants are monitored less than once a year.


Regulated Contaminants



Total Coliform Bacteria N 11-30-21 One Positive Sample Positive Sample 0 0 Naturally occurring in the environment
Alpha Emitters



N 10-17-17 3.2 +/- 1.6 pCi/L 0 15 Erosion of natural deposits


N 12-15-21 1 ppb 10 10 Erosion of natural deposits; Runoff from orchards, Runoff from glass and electronics production wastes




N 12-1-20  




ppm 2 2 Discharge of drilling wastes; discharge from metal refineries; erosion of natural deposits
Copper N 9-26-19 90th % is 0.17 ppm 1.3 AL= 1.3 Corrosion of Household plumbing/ naturally occurring










ppm 4 4 Erosion of natural deposits; Water additive which promotes strong teeth: Discharge from fertilizer and aluminum factories
Lead N 9-26-19 90th % is 1 ppb 0 AL= 15 Corrosion of Household plumbing: Erosion of natural deposits
Nitrate + Nitrate




N 12-15-21  




ppm 10 10 Naturally occurring at this level
Radium 228



N 10-17-17  

1.1 +/- 0.6

1.9 +/- 0.8

pCi/L 0 5 Natural deposits
Total Trihalomethanes


N 8-11-20 9.2 ppb 0 80 By product of drinking water chlorination


N 8-29-17 1 ppb 0 30 Erosion of natural deposits



MCL – Maximum Contaminant Level – The “Maximum Allowed” is the highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.

MCLG – Maximum Contaminant Level Goal – The “Goal” is the level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.

PPM – Parts per million or Milligrams per liter (mg/l) – one part per million corresponds to one minute in two years or a single penny in $10,000.

PPB – Parts per billion or Micrograms per liter – one part per billion corresponds to one minute in 2,000 years, or a single penny in $10,000,000.

AL – Action Level – the concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements which a water system must follow.

pCi/L – Pico Curies per Liter – a very small unit of measurement of radioactivity.

What does this table tell us?

As you can see our system had no MCL violations. MCL’s are set at very stringent levels. To understand the possible health effects of exceeding the MCL, a person would have to drink two liters of water every day at the MCL for a lifetime to have a one in a million chance of having any adverse health effects. Although we have learned through our monitoring and testing that some constituents have been detected, the EPA has determined that your water IS SAFE at these levels.

Our testing did uncover the possible presence of coliform bacteria during November. Although coliform bacteria are usually harmless, their presence in water is an indication that other harmful bacteria may be present. When coliform bacteria are found, special follow up tests are conducted to determine if harmful bacteria are present. In our case all repeat samples were coliform free.

All sources of drinking water are subject to potential contamination by contaminants that are naturally occurring or manmade. Those contaminants can be microbes, organic or inorganic chemicals, or radioactive materials. All drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791, or online at

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA/CDC guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by cryptosporidium and other microbiological contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline, or online at .

Lead in drinking water comes primarily from materials and components of the service lines and home plumbing systems. It is possible that lead levels at your home may be higher than other homes in the community as a result of materials used in your home’s plumbing. Our water system is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but we cannot control the variety of materials used in private home plumbing systems. If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. If you are concerned about elevated lead levels in your home’s water, you may wish to have your water tested by a certified laboratory like the one we send our samples to (Montana Environmental Laboratory, 406-755-2131). When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap until the water temperature has stabilized (usually for 30 seconds to 2 minutes) before you use the water for drinking or cooking. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure to lead is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline 1-800-426-4791, or online at .

We are pleased to report that a June 2000 assessment of our aquifer by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality indicated that due to the natural conditions of the aquifer our wells are generally well protected from possible contamination. This report is available for review online at http://svc.mt.gov/deq/dst/#/app/swp. This report can be summarized in the following table:


Susceptibility assessment for significant potential contaminant sources

in the control zone and inventory region for the PWS wells.

Source Contaminant Hazard Hazard Rating Barriers Susceptibility Management
Sanitary sewer main Pathogens and Nitrates Leak Low Clay rich soils; upward hydraulic gradient Very low Monitor integrity of sewer lines
Septic systems Pathogens and Nitrates Leak Low Clay rich soils; upward hydraulic gradient Very low Connect to sanitary sewer system
UST sites Petroleum hydrocarbons Spill, Leak Low Compliance with 1998 upgrades, Clay rich soils; upward hydraulic gradient Very low Monitor compliance results
LUST sites Petroleum hydrocarbons Ground water impacts Low Clay rich soils; upward hydraulic gradient Very low Monitor status of remediation
Machine and auto repair shops Various chemicals Spills Low Clay rich soils; upward hydraulic gradient Very low Educate shop owners and staff on BMP’s in waste management and reduction
Lake County weed district Pesticides and herbicides Spills Low Clay rich soils; upward hydraulic gradient Very low Work with staff for BMPs for chemical use and storage
Ronan Public Works shop area Petroleum hydrocarbons and other chemicals Spills Low Clay rich soils; upward hydraulic gradient Very low Work with staff for BMPs for chemical use and storage
US HWY 93, and MT Hwy 211 Various Spills Low Clay rich soils; upward hydraulic gradient Very low Develop emergency response protocols
Railroad lines Various Spills Low Clay rich soils; upward hydraulic gradient Very low Develop emergency response protocols
Agricultural land use Pesticides and herbicides, Nitrates Nonpoint source, concentration Low Clay rich soils; upward hydraulic gradient Very low Educate community on BMPs for agriculture
Storm water urban land use Various Spills Low Clay rich soils; upward hydraulic gradient Very low Develop storm water management plan


Our water system is committed to providing our customers with safe, pure water and we are pleased that our water meets or exceeds all established state and federal standards. Thank you for reviewing this report.

Prepared by Montana Environmental Lab, LLC 1/22