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West Yellowstone lifts health advisory

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shared by Roger Merrill
There was a rush on local stores for water supplies. Bottled water will be distributed Saturday.

WEST YELLOWSTONE, Mt. (KIFI/KIDK)-UPDATE: The town of West Yellowstone says its drinking water system is once again safe.

A new sampling test was taken Saturday, specifically analyzing the water for the presence of petroleum-based products, also know as VOC's.

The Gallatin County Health Department determined the first round of tests were negative, meaning there was no detection of VOC's. With that information, the health department lifted its “do-not-use order.”

Restaurants and food establishments were also allowed to resume normal operations. People with severely compromised immune systems, infants pregnant women and some elderly people may be at an increased risk.

The town said a health “advisory” remains in effect as the health department conducts more tests, however, that designation is not an emergency and water does not have to be boiled or treated.

Original Story:
West Yellowstone, Montana authorities are warning residents and visitors the town's water should not be consumed by humans.

In a news release, the town explained that sometime during the past week, the town's Whiskey Springs collection area was damaged. That is the town's primary water source.

After evaluating the system, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality determined the damage could introduce contaminants into the system, which could affect the health of anyone using the water. The department declared a Tier One Drinking Water Situation.

Officials stressed the situation is not related to COVID-19.

The DEQ order will remain in effect until additional sampling asnd testing can be completed that indicate the waer is safe to drink.

The Gallatin County, City County Health Department ordered all restaurants and other food establishments to discontinue operations. Motels and hotels, tourist homes,trailer courts, campgrounds and day care centers were allowed to continue to operate, but must not use the West Yellowstone town water supply for consumption. All ice currently in their facilities should be discarded.

The order said water should not be used for drink making, brushing teeth or food preparation. Bottled water should be used for all necessities.

The Town has arranged for delivery of over 1,000 cases of bottled water from Lehrkinds of Bozeman. It will be distributed to residents in the south parking lot of the Town Hall from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Families will be distributed one case per day. Hotels and night rental establishments will be permitted to take 2 bottles per room, per day.

The town stressed this is a temporary situation and ever-evolving. Check in on the town's website or Facebook page for additional information.

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