GREAT FALLS- For the last week the city of Choteau has been battling issues from Mother Nature. Flooding from the ice jam has raised water concerns for those throughout the community, as homes are being flooded and water is contaminated.
The city was aware that this was a big issue for the community, but they didn't realize how significantly resident's homes would be impacted.
"It wasn't until Sunday when we received some of those notifications from some of those folks, the plumbers that have been in people's basements helping them out, that there were groundwater and sewage," said mayor Chris Hindoien, "In some instances, sewage has been backed up into floor drains. Some even over the tops of toilets and stuff in the basement, and they were getting backed down into the open well, sand point wells, and some of the domestic drinking wells."
Hindoien said that during his time in Choteau he has never experienced anything like this. "The water and the cold temperatures combined gave us something we haven't seen in Choteau in many years. That was ice, ice like we've never seen."
Now, residents on the west side of Choteau are forced to adjust their lifestyles. They have not been able to use there sewer or water because all the water running under the ground is believed to be contaminated.
Many people are now even buying bottled water during this time just to get by.
David Nesbit, who is a member of the community, goes on to say, "They haven't done anything with the creek for years and years and years, that's why all these trees are falling in the creek and there backing up the water."
Choteau tested five wells on Tuesday and only one tested positive for total chloroform. The water will also be tested for e coli.
Now there isn't a set time frame for when things will return to normal, but the community is working their hardest to make sure its sooner rather than later.