Updates

April 15, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Pond Repairs are Complete & Pond is Operational  

As of March 28, Yellowstone Club’s pond is operating as designed. The repair plan and process, approved by Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), involved a number of partners: Williams Civil Construction executed the repairs; Morrison Maierle Engineering inspected repairs and provided third-party oversight; and MDEQ approved the plan and made site visits throughout the repair. There are still some aesthetic tasks to complete around the perimeter of the pond including fencing, telemetry and riprap of the underdrain outfall channel.  None of those items are critical to pond operation and are on track to be completed when the ground thaws.

YC is working with MDEQ Enforcement Division to create a slope remediation plan for the eroded hillside. Confluence Engineering is developing a plan and will submit to MDEQ in the next few months. The organizations are expected to collaborate on an approved plan and slope remediation will be performed in the summer, once the ground is completely thawed.

Initial testing shows minimal impact to waterways and wildlife, but Gallatin River Task Force (http://www.gallatinrivertaskforce.org/), will continue to report on the latest findings. YC will also perform its own upstream and downstream water quality monitoring and takes that responsibility very seriously. Confluence Engineering, who is authorized by MDEQ, will perform related testing on behalf of YC. In addition Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks requested YC perform habitat analysis which includes measurements on stream morphology, structure, vertebrate and micro-vertebrate samplings. All YC testing will continue following the spring runoff and through the summer.

Photos of completed inlet pipe assembly and final pressure test, performed by onsite engineer, on newly installed pipe on April 13, 2015

March 18, 2016 at 10:45 a.m.

DEQ Approves YC Pond Repair Plan

Repair Plan Approval: The MDEQ provided a few more comments on the repair plans, which we incorporated and resubmitted on March 16, 2016.  The MDEQ delivered a copy of its letter approving the repair plans on March 17, 2016.  The MDEQ will be visiting the site during the construction to repair the pond, and continues to be very responsive and collaborative through this process.

Current Construction: Williams Civil continues to work on grouting the annuls of the casement pipe. Over the past 48 hours, we have focused on continued cleanup operations, material preparation and the initial assembly of repair pieces. Although winter storms have hit the site intermittently, we mitigated the weather with tents and heating equipment, and have avoided interrupting the work.

Testing: The MDEQ has released the first round of testing data from the initial leak. The Gallatin River Task Force, Confluence Engineering and YC continue to gather data. Once the requisite data sets have been received, Gallatin River Task Force will publish them, and we will provide a link to those results.

Outside Bozeman summarized the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks fish survey, which can be viewed here.

Photos of crews mitigating the weather with tents and heaters and workers grouting the casing pipe on March 17, 2016

March 16, 2016 at 7:30 a.m.

Repair plan approval status; Repair preparations update; Reclamation analysis

Status of Repair Plan Approval: On March 15, 2016, YC, Morrison Maierle Inc., and lead engineers from the MDEQ discussed the repair plan YC submitted to the MDEQ on March 11, 2016. Comments from all parties were compiled, and based upon those comments, an updated and revised repair plan was submitted to the MDEQ. We anticipate that the MDEQ will review the revised repair plan immediately, and we will soon have repair plan approval so that repairs can begin.

Preparation Continues as Repair Plan Awaits Approval: While we work through approval of the repair plan, our crews continue to prepare the site for repair work. Crews completed a review of the casing pipe that carried the water out of the pond, so we could confirm there is no damage to the pipe. A camera was used to view the entire length of the pipe and Morrison Maierle engineers on site were able to confirm that the casing pipe was not damaged by the incident. As a next step to prepare the site, we will work on grouting the pipe, removing the damaged liner, and removing soil in order to create construction platforms that will provide access for the pond repair work.

Reclamation: We are also analyzing possible damage to the land caused by erosion.  Confluence Engineering has already started a draft plan for the remediation of the land eroded below the pond. However, revisions to the plan will need to continue until the snow is melted and the engineers can walk and review all areas damaged by erosion. As a result, remediation work will likely not start until after the normal spring runoff.

Photos of vac truck used for casing pipe cleaning and small equipment used to remove any unsuitable material on March 15, 2016

March 13, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.

MDEQ conference call set for Monday, 3/14; Dry working pads and waterproof dams created around work site; Water quality testing continues

Pond Repair: MDEQ engineers requested a conference call on Monday, March 14, with Morrison Maierle Inc. to further discuss the design and possibly offer live comments.  YC will also participate in the call. We remain hopeful to have a design approval mid-week.  Crews from Williams Civil Construction continue cleanup efforts and have started cleaning the steel sleeve in preparation for a video inspection. Sand and gravel have been installed around the site to create better access and dry working pads. Workers have built waterproof dams around the work site allowing them to pump any melted snow and ice out and keep the work area clean.

 Testing: Water quality testing continues with the MDEQ and YC teams. We should have initial results from the early testing efforts this week. Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks completed their fish survey on Friday. They will ultimately do 2-3 additional surveys over the course of the next few months.

Photos of dam being built around site to control ice melt from saturating the work area; steel sleeve being cleaned for TV inspection on March 13, 2016

March 12, 2016 at 7:50 a.m.

Initial Reports of Investigation & Impact; Repair Plan Submitted for Approval

The MDEQ shared initial findings of its investigation of the leak which aligns with previous views that an ice formation was the cause of the incident. The report notes, “ice forming around the standpipe screen, and then the water level rising and pulling the standpipe out of place, caused the failure in the pond.” More information is available at the DEQ’s site.

This week, the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) performed the first evaluation and fish sampling of the streams in an effort to understand any potential impacts to the fishery. We had Confluence Engineering help FWP with their testing efforts. FWP shared on Friday that the impact on fish seems to be minimal.

Finalized repair plans and specifications have been submitted by Morrison Maierle Inc. to MDEQ for review and approval. Work continues on the site to prepare for the pending repair by Williams Civil Contracting. We are hopeful to have a MDEQ approved repair plan by next week.

Currently, authorities are analyzing and reporting upon the environmental impact resulting from the incident related to the turbidity of the water. Yellowstone Club is committed to addressing that issue as well as any other environmental impacts created from this incident.

Photo of Montana FWP sampling team on March 11, 2016

Montana FWP Sampling Team


March 10, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. MST

Continued Collaboration on Repair Plan

Workers are busy preparing the site for repair and extracting damaged material in anticipation of an approved repair plan (which needs to be submitted to and approved by MDEQ).

Our collaborative repair plan continues with engineers from MDEQ, BSWSD, YC and geotechnical experts. Yesterday, we met for several hours to conduct a site tour and secure the full team’s experiential input on repairs for the pond.  As a result of that meeting, today we will submit an engineered plan to MDEQ for its approval.

To ensure a thoughtful approach to possible erosion related to the incident, Confluence Engineering was tasked today with evaluating control mitigation devices that can be placed in the disturbed areas from the incident to help mitigate additional sedimentation transport from the anticipated spring runoff.

Testing: MDEQ continues the testing of all waterways with its enforcement division. Additionally, YC, Confluence Engineering and the Gallatin River Task Force will continue testing today.  It is anticipated that those results will be available next week. For results, please visit the Gallatin River Task Force. Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks is doing an evaluation today to assess any impacts to the fish populations in the receiving waters.

Photos of MDEQ engineer inspection and YC, Confluence Engineering and Gallatin River Task Force testing water below pond on March 9, 2016

March 9, 2016 at 10:40 a.m. MST

Pond Repairs On Track

Repair Plans: Today we are continuing to evaluate the best approach to the repair. We are working on a repair plan with the MDEQ, BSWSD and other stakeholders. They were onsite at Yellowstone Club today and we are hopeful to start some of the repairs in the next 48 hours.

Water Testing & Quality: Testing of the waterways is still ongoing by us, as well as other community groups.  We expect to see the first results of our testing soon.  For all testing results please visit Gallatin River Task Force. Although we do not anticipate any issues with drinking water quality, we are advocating that people with wells downstream have their water tested. YC will pay for all well sampling lab fees in the area for the next 12 months. Please email us if you’d like to receive a free sampling kit.

 Community: Today, representatives from YC attended a board meeting at the Big Sky Water and Sewer District to discuss the leak and share updates. Our goal is to ensure the community feels updated and informed about the issue.  We welcome questions to our email address (community@yellowstoneclub.com).

Photo of engineers inspecting breach location on March 9 at 1:00 p.m. EST 

3-9-16 Engineers inspecting breach location.jpeg


March 8, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. MST

Water Testing & Pond Repair

Water Testing & Quality: Testing continues on all upstream and downstream waters of the Gallatin River. Independent water quality testing is being performed by MDEQ and a collaboration of Gallatin River Task Force, Confluence Engineering and YC. Test results may take some time to complete as the process is very comprehensive. Once we receive data from our efforts, we will post information to our site. Water quality in the Gallatin River is visibly getting better daily and we are optimistic that our test results will reflect the same. Continue reading full update here.

Photos of breach location as of March 8 at 9:00 a.m. EST and photo of Second Mule Creek as of March 7 at 3 p.m. MST

March 7, 2016 at 9:20 a.m. MST

Water flow ceases & Yellowstone Club works closely with engineers on recovery

Water stopped flowing at approximately 4 AM MST making it safe to now start recovery plans. We held meetings this morning with our engineers and MDEQ to discuss our approach for repairs. Initial visual inspections show that Yellow Mule Creek water is significantly clearer but we are continuing to monitor and test all open water ways with Confluence Environmental Engineering and the Gallatin River Task Force.

Photos of breach location and South Fork as of March 7 at 9:20 a.m. MST


March 6, 2016 

In 2001, Yellowstone Club agreed to create a pond that would store reclaimed wastewater from the Yellowstone Mountain Club water treatment plant and the Big Sky Water and Sewer District #363 (“District”). Reclaimed water is former wastewater that is treated to remove impurities so the water can be reused for other purposes. The reclaimed water in the pond is stored by Yellowstone Club over the winter and then used to irrigate Yellowstone Club’s golf course in the summer. The pond provides a necessary storage area for the District and it provides a way for Yellowstone Club to irrigate with recycled water.

On Thursday, March 3, 2016, a Yellowstone Club team member identified damage to a water irrigation main located next to our reclaimed water storage pond that was causing water to leak from the pond.  This pond is located above our golf course on the valley side toward Second Yellow Mule Creek. Continue reading full update here.


If you have concerns, questions, or comments, please contact community@yellowstoneclub.com.