Nov 26, 2012 9:21 AM by Katy Harris - MTN News
BUTTE - Silver Bow Creek has seen significant improvements in water quality and now it could be reclassified, and that has the Montana Department of Environmental Quality is considering reclassifying the creek.
It is currently classified as indeterminate, or in other words, it's not even classified.
DEQ has been cleaning the creek of tailings since 1983 and today the creek meets water quality standards most of the time and has developed a healthy trout population.
The creek could be classified as C-1 which means it can support self-sustaining trout fisheries, it could also be classified as B-1, which means it can fully support drinking water.
"The progress has been tremendous. The concentrations of copper and zinc and cadmium in the creek are now much, much lower. The largest inputs from groundwater were coming directly out of Butte itself. Controlling those-the more they controlled, the more we saw concentrations drop," DEQ State Project Officer Joe Griffin said.
The DEQ will have Silver Bow Creek reclassified by the end of 2013, and reclassification is than reviewed every three years.