Agencies say they didn’t pull the pipes on North Fork springs

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The pipes have been pulled from this North Fork Road spring, but government agencies say they didnít do it.

The pipes have been pulled from two springs up the North Fork, but both state and local agencies say they didnít do it.

There are two spring on the paved section of the North Fork Road about 6 miles north of Columbia Falls. One is on the east side of the road and the other is on the west side of the road, not far from Canyon Creek.

The Hungry Horse News contacted the state Department of Environmental Quality, the Montana Department of Transportation, the Flathead County Health Department and the Flathead County Public Works Department.

All of the agencies, through various spokespersons said they did not touch the pipes.

DEQ spokeswoman Christine Mandiloff said the springs arenít considered a public water supply by the DEQ and the DEQ did not touch them. She suggested contacting the county, but Christine Hughes of the county health department, in turn, said the county didnít touch the pipes either.

Montana Department of Transportation spokeswoman Lori Ryan said they knew the pipes had been removed, but MDT staff didnít do it. Flathead County Public Works director Dave Prunty said they didnít touch the pipes either ó the county doesnít maintain the paved section of the road.

Roadside springs have been shut down by various agencies in the past because the water can contain coliform and other potentially harmful bacteria.

Years ago, there was a controversy over the roadside springs at Berne Park because tests found that it had surface water as at least part of its source. After that, a warning sign was placed at the spring, noting it was not a public water supply, but the pipes werenít pulled.

There is a home above the east side North Fork spring, but the west side spring has no structures above it and appears to be on Forest Service land, according to Montana Cadastral records.

Note: This story has been edited to reflect landownership of the west side spring.

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