The Roundup -

The Fox Hill-Hell Creek Aquifer Study Will Determine The Reason For Declining Water Levels And Potential Solutions


On Fri., March 4, information about the Fox Hills- Hell Creek aquifer study will be presented at 1 p.m. at the Richland County Event Center as part of Ag Days. The project is being funded by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation through the Montana Renewable Resources Grant and Loan Program for the enhancement of Montana’s renewable resources. The study will inventory wells completed in the Fox Hills- Hell Creek aquifer and determine well head conditions as water-level monitoring over the last twenty years has shown a one to four feet decrease per year.

Aquifers, permeable rock that contain and transmit groundwater, supply 94% of Montana’s rural domestic water supply and 39% of the state’s public water supply. Wells in Richland County provide water for households, businesses, livestock, crops, lawns, and gardens.

The Richland County Conservation District and the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology will determine if the decreasing water flow is due to pressure head declines in the aquifer or if the two-inch metal casings used to complete the wells are corroded, allowing water to seep out. Controlling any leaks by lining and winterizing wells in the Fox Hills-Hell Creek aquifer would reduce or stop decreasing water levels.

Water levels, shut in pressures, and flow rates will be measured and compared to those when the well was first dug; other aspects will be evaluated such as the condition of the well head and surface casings, and field water quality parameters will be measured. Landowners can assist by disclosing the history, location, depth, and aquifer.

There are 130 wells identified that will be the initial focus of the study, however, the study has potential to expand based on the interest of well owners that would like to participate. Questionnaires will be sent to well owners and anyone interested should contact the Richland County Conservation District at 406-433-2103 or by email at


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