Bill takes aim at sewage seeping into northwest Montana lakes

Bill takes aim at sewage seeping into northwest Montana lakes

News Type: State Source: Missoulian
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FLATHEAD LAKE — Babbling springs and mountain snowmelt aren’t the only water sources feeding Montana’s largest lake.

Others lurk along the shoreline, and they’re unlikely to see mention in tourism campaigns. Many lakeshore homes pump their sewage into underground septic systems, but during a 2014-2015 study, scientists at the Flathead Lake Biological Station found that it wasn’t staying there.

Sampling lakewater near Dayton on Flathead Lake’s west side, they found high levels of E. coli bacteria, a marker for animal waste. “We actually sent [the samples] to an outside lab to do DNA testing,” said Tom Bansak, the Biological Station’s assistant director. “In one particular area, we found that it was human gut fauna entering the surface water and entering the lake.