DEQ Water Discharge Permit Process
Anyone who discharges water to surface or groundwaters must obtain a permit to do so from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.
In 1974, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delegated authority to Montana to administer the requirements of the Clean Water Act, which was adopted to:
- conserve water by protecting, maintaining, and improving the quality and potability of water for public water supplies, wildlife, fish and aquatic life, agriculture, industry, recreation, and other beneficial uses;
- provide a comprehensive program for the prevention, abatement, and control of water pollution;
- balance the inalienable rights to pursue life’s basic necessities and possess and use property in lawful ways with the policy of preventing, abating, and controlling water pollution in implementing a water pollution program.
Thus, the state promotes the protection of water quality, while also accommodating human uses, through laws that guide our water-related activities.
Because our bottling process includes a rinsing stage, we will need to discharge water from our facility. This rinse- water discharge requires a permit from the DEQ. The discharge will consist of water used to rinse the pre-formed bottles delivered to our facility before they are filled and packaged. The rinse water will be filtered and discharged as clean as when it was pumped from the ground.
We filed an application for a water discharge permit with DEQ based on the anticipated amount of rinse water that would need to be discharged from the facility (approximately five gallons per minute) based on a total draw of 30 gallons per minute. While not currently part of our design, additional discharge in the amount of 60 gallons per minute would be permitted for domestic use as well as geothermal heating during colder winter months, if we chose to pursue that use in the future.
DEQ analyzed the potential impacts from this discharge and issued a permit based on their independent analysis of our project (see Agency Decisions).
Any expansion in the discharge of water above this amount would require additional analysis and permitting from the Montana DEQ.