Neighborhood NewsGreat Falls - Cascade County


Town of Cascade continues to investigate water supply

Cascade, Montana town hall
Posted at 1:19 PM, Jan 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-16 16:17:34-05

GREAT FALLS — Officials are continuing to investigate the water system in the town of Cascade, and released the following information on Tuesday, January 16, 2024:

Our water system is currently experiencing an odor with an unknown cause. A new well source was placed into production and we believe that to be the culprit. We immediately shut down this new source. As we investigate the issue, there may still be some of that water in the system causing odor issues. This Health Advisory is precautionary as we continue to investigate. Although we are proactively trying to reduce consumer impacts by flushing water, the extreme cold has hindered our efforts.

As the temperatures increase this week, we will continue to flush the system. Chlorine residuals have also been increased as a precaution. This is an attempt to give you the most up to date information. Again, we are issuing this Health Advisory as a precaution. This is not an emergency and as our customers, you have a right to know what is happening, what you should do, and what we are doing to correct this situation.

This Health Advisory is precautionary. The Town of Cascade public water supply system is experiencing odors of an unknown origin. Water samples are being taken. Water system personnel are working diligently to complete the investigation.

• People with severely compromised immune systems, infants, and some elderly may be at increased risk. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.

What does this mean?
• Fecal coliform and E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, and people with severely compromised immune systems.
• The symptoms above are not caused only by organisms in drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you may want to seek medical advice. People at increased risk should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. Inadequately treated water may contain disease-causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria, viruses, and parasites which can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches.

What is being done?
• Samples of the water will be collected. Water system personnel are closely monitoring the situation and will update users if anything changes.
• For more information, please contact: Joe Voss at 406-799-6550.
• General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice.

Principal Wilson said that the Cascade school will continue to supply bottled water for students and staff until further notice. Water fountains throughout the school building will remain closed.

We will update you if we get more information.

(JANUARY 15, 1:40 p.m.) The Town of Cascade has determined that the smell detected in several homes in Cascade on Sunday via their water was coming out of the Madison Three well.

After contacting drillers, engineers, and Montana Rural Water, they isolated the source and have switched over to using Madison One well.

Authorities believe this may be related to construction of the new Madison Three well.

The town will be doing more flushing and sampling to make sure the water is safe before putting the well back online.

Cascade maintains a chlorine residual throughout the water system which is checked daily to prevent bacteria in the system.

As a precautionary measure, while additional testing is being done, and with the suspect source being taken offline, they are asking resident to not drink the water until further notice. This is not regulatory, only suggested, at this time.


(JANUARY 15, 10:03 a.m.) The town of Cascade is asking residents to not drink water from the town supply as Public Works staff investigate what it calls "problems."

A woman told KRTV: "Many homeowners complaining about foul tasting and smelling water; think starting fluid."

On Sunday evening, town officials said it had received reports of "water problems," but did not elaborate. A short time later, a social media post said:

At this time, the public works department is asking that you don't drink the water, which is STRICTLY PRECAUTIONARY. We are diligently working to figure out what is going on and why it is very sporadic as to who is affected.

Town officials said that using the water for washing and bathing is fine.

At 10:15 a.m. on Monday, the following information was released:

Water system update: Last night, the water source was isolated and switched to a different one. (The town has 3). The system was then flushed. Asking people to not drink the water was PRECAUTIONARY, and not an emergency measure.

Cascade is about halfway between Great Falls and Wolf Creek.

We will update you if we get more information.