By Tim Leeds
The Hill County Water District has lifted its outdoor watering restrictions.
"We're in pretty good shape for water," district manager Kim Bunton said this week.
Chinook lifted its outdoor watering restrictions in July, and Havre lifted its restrictions Sept. 1.
The district, which serves much of Hill County west of Havre, imposed restrictions last year because of the low level of water in Fresno Reservoir. The reservoir, which supplies the district, was low because of three years of drought.
This year, restrictions were in place because the supply of water was extremely dirty. The district has no treatment plant, and uses settling lagoons and chlorination to treat the water.
When heavy storms in early June started filling the reservoir, they also filled it with sediment and organic material, water treatment personnel said. Water treatment plants were running 24 hours a day and using three to four times the amount of chemicals usually needed for treatment.
The St. Mary Project, which transfers water from Lake Sherburne to the Milk River irrigation system, was shut down for repairs earlier this summer. Once the diversion started running again, the water cleared up considerably, Bunton said.
The storage for the Hill County Water District is about half to three- quarters full, he said.
"By wintertime we'll be full," he said.
The board decided to keep its advisory to boil water for drinking if the district's customers have any concerns, Bunton said. Since there is no treatment plant, the board decided that advisory should be kept in place, he said.