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Owners of Lakeside alpine coaster seek permission for public water supply well, public comment sought

by Kate Heston - Hagadone News Network
| February 8, 2024 11:30 AM

The owners of the Flathead Lake Alpine Coaster are seeking state permission to turn a private well at the Lakeside attraction into a public supply well.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality is seeking public comment on the proposal, submitted by Wilderness Land Holdings LLC, and on the recently completed Draft Environmental Assessment. Comments are due by Feb. 28.

The project, as per the Draft Environmental Assessment, would see the well on the property turned into a public supply well with the installation of a pressure tank and other electrical and mechanical equipment in an existing building.

The well already exists, according to the assessment, so there would be no physical effects related to drilling. The biggest change, according to the department, is the installation of the equipment.

Still, the installation was projected to have a minimal impact on the environment, according to the assessment. There are no found impacts on the physical environment, including damaging environmental resources, hindering a historical site, or ruining aesthetics.

Likewise, the plan is projected to have no effect on the human environment — including access to wildlife and cultural uniqueness — except for possibly boosting local and state tax revenues.

“There may be a slight economic benefit to the local tax base by improving the property with a public water system,” the assessment reads.

The coaster opened in June 2023 despite opposition from some neighbors, who worried the attraction would pose a traffic safety risk on U.S. 93. 

The state Department of Environmental Quality completed the assessment as part of its review of the proposal last week. Montana law requires a review if a proposed public water supply would serve 25 or more people for 60 or more days. 

Department officials said that the public water supply would be used for restrooms and an employee break room.

A representative of Wilderness Land Holdings, which is owned by Jessica and Torsten Wedel, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Comments can be submitted directly to the DEQ Water Quality Division, Engineering Bureau, PO Box 200901, Helena, MT 59620 or emailed to DEQMEPA@mt.gov. 

More information can be found at https://deq.mt.gov/News/publiccomment-folder/Flathead-Lake-Alpine-Coaster-01-29-2024.