UPDATE: City of Billings Water Plant Has Resumed Normal Operations
UPDATED June 16, 9:30 a.m.
Billings Public Works has resumed normal operations at the water plant after water levels greatly improved Wednesday night. Estimates show no sign of other issues in operation moving forward.
Construction on the new West End Reservoir is set to begin in the Spring or Summer of 2023. Public Works stated that the new reservoir will have the ability to hold 30 days worth of water at a time, and will have the ability to isolate water from the Yellowstone River to avoid situations like this in the future.
UPDATED June 15, 2:30 p.m.
At a press conference today, Billings Public Works is waiting for the river level to go down in order to assess any damages and return to operational levels. Businesses and residents are asked to suspend watering lawns in order to try and conserve as much water as possible.
Water reserves being processed by the plant do indicate that the water is safe to drink and does not need to be boiled in any way before consumption.
The National Weather Service in Billings reports that 90-degree temperatures will hit the region beginning Friday. Parks Superintendent Mike Pigg said with all the rain the area has received recently, trees and grass will be fine without extra watering.
"If we're out of water for even a week, you really won't even notice it," Pigg said.
All water for city parks and splash pads have also been shut off according to Pigg.
Fire trucks are filled with water from the plant to fight fires temporarily. Other sources will be used if needed.
Audio from the press conference is below.
Original Article: Published 06/15 at 10:10 a.m.
According to a press release today (06/15) sent at 9:37 a.m., the City of Billings has been forced to shut down the water plant in response to the rising water levels of the Yellowstone River late Tuesday (06/14).
The City noted that in order for the water plant to run effectively, the level of water in the Yellowstone River must be below 15 feet, however at around 8:30 yesterday, the water level reached 16 feet. The duration of the shutdown is unknown, as even when the water level drops below 15 feet, the filters must be cleaned before restarting operations.
Residents of Billings are being urged to conserve as much water as possible; some ways to do so include not watering lawns or irrigating. Estimates from the City show that the plant has only about a day to a day and a half left in its water supply, so it's important to conserve as much as possible until operations at the plant continue.
A press conference is scheduled today (06/15) at 10:30 a.m., during which more information regarding this event will be released, including audio of the conference.
This article will be updated as more information is known.