Meetings To Address Heavy Metal Contamination In Kootenai River WatershedSource: Montana Public Radio
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By NICKY OUELLET
A group that tracks water quality in northwest Montana is holding meetings this week about potential contamination in Lake Koocanusa and nearby rivers.
The Kootenai River Network, an international non-profit that keeps tabs on the health of the Kootenai River watershed, has been watching the rise of heavy metals in the watershed for years. North of the border in British Columbia, coal mining is releasing selenium, a naturally occurring element that can become harmful in high doses. Officials are still determining selenium limits for water quality standards.
Jim Dunnigan is president of the Kootenai River Network.
“It was clear to us that the public doesn’t really have a clear picture of the facts, in terms of what the risks are, what’s being done, and how they can develop reliable sources of information to track the issue. we hope to provide that information at the meetings over the next couple of days,” says Dunnigan.
The Kootenai River Network has organized two panel discussions this week with representatives from Montana, British Columbia, federal and tribal environmental quality agencies. The first meeting is in Eureka, Monday 10/16 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Eureka High School auditorium, with another in Kalispell on Tuesday 10/17 at the same time at Kalispell’s Hilton Garden Inn.