Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 5. Ground Water

Waste And Contamination Of Ground Water Prohibited

85-2-505. Waste and contamination of ground water prohibited. (1) No ground water may be wasted. The department shall require all wells producing waters that contaminate other waters to be plugged or capped. It shall also require all flowing wells to be so capped or equipped with valves that the flow of water can be stopped when the water is not being put to beneficial use. Likewise, both flowing and nonflowing wells must be so constructed and maintained as to prevent the waste, contamination, or pollution of ground water through leaky casings, pipes, fittings, valves, or pumps either above or below the land surface. However, in the following cases the withdrawal or use of ground water may not be construed as waste under this part:

(a) the withdrawal of reasonable quantities of ground water in connection with the construction, development, testing, or repair of a well or other means of withdrawal of ground water;

(b) the inadvertent loss of ground water owing to breakage of a pump, valve, pipe, or fitting, if reasonable diligence is shown by the person in effecting the necessary repair;

(c) the disposal of ground water without further beneficial use that must be withdrawn for the sole purpose of improving or preserving the utility of land by draining the same or that must be removed from a mine to permit mining operations or to preserve the mine in good condition;

(d) the disposal of ground water used in connection with producing, reducing, smelting, and milling metallic ores and industrial minerals or that displaced from an aquifer by the storage of other mineral resources; and

(e) the management, discharge, or reinjection of ground water produced in association with a coal bed methane well in accordance with 82-11-175(2)(b) through (2)(d).

(2) The department at any time may hold a hearing on its own motion or upon petition signed by a representative body of users of ground water in any area or subarea to determine whether the water supply within that area or subarea is used in compliance with this part.

History: En. Sec. 16, Ch. 237, L. 1961; amd. Sec. 173, Ch. 253, L. 1974; amd. Sec. 47, Ch. 460, L. 1977; R.C.M. 1947, 89-2926; amd. Sec. 5, Ch. 578, L. 2001.