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Water Quality
Drinking Water

Water Quality in Richland County

Water sampling kits are available free of charge at the Richland County Health Department. For questions about water testing, testing facilities, or test results, please contact us using the information on the right.

Only those connected to private drinking water wells and those operating a public water system need to test their drinking water regularly. Public water systems, such as Sidney city water, are tested regularly by authorities.

Total Coliform Bacteria Testing
Total coliforms are usually harmless bacteria that are naturally present in the environment. Because total coliforms and more harmful bacteria can exist in the same environment, the presence of total coliforms is used as an indicator that potentially-harmful bacteria may also be present.

All sources of drinking water are subject to potential contamination by constituents that are naturally occurring or man-made. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk.

More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.

Instructions for Sample Collection
  1. Remove the screen or aerator from the faucet head. Please note: The screen may be difficult to screw back on.
  2. Clean the inside of the faucet or garden hose with rubbing alcohol.
  3. Run the cold water for two to three minutes.
  4. Reduce the water flow to about pencil-size.
  5. Carefully remove the top from the collection bottle. Please note: Do not touch the inside of the bottle or the inside of the cap.
  6. Without rinsing the bottle, fill it to the 100-milliliter mark, leaving the white pill in the bottle.
  7. Cap the bottle firmly and mark the date and time and your name on the label.
  8. Water should arrive at the location within 30 hours of collection time. Water samples older than 30 hours are too old to test.
Collection Facilities
Bottles are provided by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services Environmental Laboratories but tests can be conducted at any licensed testing facility. All testing facilities charge a small fee. Download the Environmental Health Lab sample submission form here.


Water is vital to Montana! Individuals can take common sense steps each day towards pollution prevention, the elimination or reducton of pollution at its source. When repeated over time, these seemingly small actions can have a significant positive effect on water quality. 

1. Conserve water
Generate less wastewater. Repair Plumbing leaks. Don't use the toilet as a wastebasket. Install low-flow showerheads and appliances.
2. Reduce the use of Hazardous Materials in your home
Solvents, cleaning compoundsm and other hazardous materials often end up down the drain where they resist treatment and can cause water pollution. Look for alternatives to these products and minimize the use of hazardous materials in your home.
3. Be careful with fertilizers and pesticides
Use fertilizers and pesticides only when necessary and make sure to follow the manufacturer's directions.
4. Properly dispose of Motor Oil and Household Hazardous Wastes
Household Hazardous Wastes can include ammonia-based cleaners, oven cleaner, furniture polishes, fertilizers, expired medications, painting materials, mothballs, and batteries. Never dump these pollutants down the drain, onto the ground, or into gutters. Bring these materials to local recycling or disposal centers. 


Legionnnaires' Disease is a communicable disease on the rise in the United States, caused by breathing in water droplets containing the pathogen Legionella. Water management programs may help reduce outbreaks. Read this from the Centers for Disease Control.

Richland County
201 W. Main
Sidney, MT 59270