Work beginning on water treatment plant on Belt Creek

Preliminary site prep and dirt work has begun for a water treatment plant on Belt Creek.

Construction on the facility is expected to begin next year, according to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.

The Belt Creek Water Treatment plant is estimated to cost about $6 million and barring any weather or supply chain related delays DEQ anticipates that it will be completed in fall of 2022.

In a December 2018 meeting, staff from DEQ updated County Commissioners on the project, which if being funded through their Abandoned Mine Land Program.

The plant will be located on property bordering 5th Street South, near the location of the Anaconda Belt Mine discharge.

County CDBG needs: Belt drafting first growth policy, zoning regulations; Eden Community Hall in need of repairs

DEQ acquired land for the project for $1 from the Montana Department of Transportation.


DEQ is proposing to keep the area in blue for the water treatment plant and transfer the land along the creek to the Town of Belt.

Belt Mayor Jim Olson said during the commission meeting, “the Town of Belt is very excited to have a clean creek again.”

DEQ staff said during that meeting that funding was identified for the program and the department has established a trust through the Montana Board of Investments to operate and maintain the plant in perpetuity. The Abandoned Mine Lands Program began a water treatment fund in 2010 to finance this project with money received from the U.S. Department of Interior, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. Additional funding will be provided by the Montana Department of Natural Resources Reclamation and Development Grants Program, according to a DEQ project fact sheet.

Tetra Tech Inc. is the primary design engineering firm and according to DEQ, the 30 percent design that’s was expected in January 2019 would address:

  • stability of the plant foundation;
  • hydraulic bulkheads (plugs) to address acid mine discharge on the east side of Belt;
  • pumping test evaluation to test the mine pool to determine if mine water can be reduced by pumping out the flooded portions of the mine;
  • slug testing to assess the abandoned mine’s capacity to accept sludge produced by the water treatment plant;
  • geotechnical studies along the sludge pipeline;
  • risk elimination in the water treatment plant; and
  • equipment sizing.