Three Forks Voice - Connect With Your Community!

By Jack H. Smith
Three Forks Voice 

School, MSU partner for safe water project


October 30, 2019

Three Forks High School students and teachers have partnered with Montana State University for a Safe Water Drinking Project.

According to Three Forks science teacher Steven Hamilton, the purpose of the project is to test private wells in and around the school district (which includes parts of Gallatin, Broadwater, Jefferson, and Madison Counties) that aren't connected to municipal waters systems because they're well-regulated and regularly tested. Along with Hamilton and his students, the project also includes Three Forks teacher Garret Oksness and his classes, as well as Dr. Mari Eggers of Montana State University and her students.

The Three Forks science department was initially contacted by MSU about involving the local students. Hamilton said Three Forks students have a good track record of doing quality science work and this is a great opportunity for them to get to work with University researchers looking at real-world issues.

The project will also expand upon a study conducted three years ago by the Gallatin Local Water Quality District. The study tested for arsenic in local wells, and with limited results, the new project is hoping to expand the data-set and test for more contaminants.

Testing kits were made available through the high school that included two small bottles and instructions to obtain water samples.

Hamilton said so far there has been both good participation and positive feedback from the community.

"In large part because while municipal water systems are well regulated, private wells really aren't and this is a great opportunity to have their wells tested at no charge. Plus, people get the added benefit of knowing that it's our amazing students working with University researchers doing their testing," he said.

Those who participated in the study were given their results Tuesday and researchers will begin preparing a summary report for the community.

Hamilton anticipates community-wide results being made available in the spring because they will be doing more sampling and testing.

They plan on reporting to the Three Forks School Board, Three Forks City Council, Gallatin County Commissioners and Gallatin Local Water Quality District.

For more information about the project visit


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