News Feature | October 10, 2017

Treatment Plant Vandals Leave Montana Residents Without Water

Peter Chawaga - editor

By Peter Chawaga, Associate Editor, Water Online

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Residents of Crow Agency, MT, were left without drinking water late last week after their water treatment facility was vandalized.

“One or more vandals shot up, smashed and burned Crow Agency’s water treatment facility, causing an estimated $1 million in damage,” according to the Billings Gazette. “Someone had opened the facility’s doors overnight with a carpentry claw and gone through the building shooting, smashing and burning just about everything in sight.”

It was not immediately clear who had caused the destruction or why. Following the damage, the Crow Tribal government urged residents not to drink or touch the water while the U.S. EPA conducted lab tests on water samples. The water was still available for flushing toilets and putting out fires.

“There is no confirmation of any contamination as of yet, but because it was sabotaged so terribly, we can’t afford to take any risks,” Candy Felicia, director of the Crow Tribe’s Water Authority, told the Gazette. “We have an elderly home, a hospital, a couple schools … It’s imperative that we take every precautionary measure until immediate test results prove otherwise.”

As of late last week, workers were still trying to fix electrical issues and pipes, according to KULR8. Due to the lack of water, local businesses and the school district were forced to close.

“Water is being transported and distributed throughout the community with the help of Disaster and Emergency Services [DES],” KUL8 reported. “DES Director Laura Rides Horse said they have been working diligently to get water to everyone.”

Last Friday, the water restrictions were finally lifted.

To read more about treatment plant security visit Water Online’s Resiliency Solutions Center.

Top Image credit: "Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument," Kent Kanouse, 2013, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/