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The Montana Department of Environmental Quality is no longer considering a contentious proposal to dispose of material from portable toilets and septic tanks on 70 acres in Amsterdam.

The DEQ released a draft environmental assessment last month of an application from TLC Septic and Excavation to place the material — known as septage — on 70 acres near the intersection of Amsterdam and Camp Creek roads and on 100 acres at 9363 Camp Creek Road.

TLC President Lori Dooley told the Chronicle on Thursday that the DEQ’s inclusion of the 70-acre property in its assessment was a mistake and that she had previously requested the property be withdrawn from consideration because it was not suitable for the application of septage.

DEQ spokesperson Moira Davin confirmed on Friday afternoon that, at Dooley’s request, the DEQ would no longer be considering the proposal to place septage on the 70-acre parcel.

DEQ plans to republish the draft environmental assessment with information only about the 100-acre property and will be accepting public comment on the revised draft until Jan. 8.

Dooley did not respond immediately Friday to a request for comment.

The change to the draft environmental assessment comes after Amsterdam residents raised concerns about the environmental and health impacts of applying septage to the 70-acre property, which sits near dozens of homes, residential wells and Amsterdam School.

Nancy Randall, an Amsterdam resident who has been rallying her neighbors against the assessment, said Friday she is encouraged by DEQ’s decision to no longer consider the 70-acre property.

“That’s the area that could have possibly contaminated the town, so this is really good news,” she said.

She said she is less worried about having septage on the 100-acre property at 9363 Camp Creek Road because it is a more rural area, but she still plans to submit comments to DEQ to ensure no septage is disposed near homes, groundwater and surface water.

The land application of septage is common in Montana.

“Land application by pumpers allows for safe disposal of septage without overloading Montana’s wastewater treatment plants,” the DEQ wrote in the draft environmental assessment. “Land application also reduces Montana’s farmer’s (sic.) reliance on chemical fertilizers to improve soil.”

To get permission to apply septage, businesses must first acquire permission from local governmental entities, such as the county health and planning departments. DEQ then conducts an assessment that includes surveying the area’s topography and ensuring it is far enough from surface water, wells and homes to be safe.

The DEQ’s draft environmental assessment concluded that the placement of septage on the 100-acre property would have minor impacts and could add moisture and nutrients to the soil, improving crop production.

Once the public comment period for DEQ’s draft environmental assessment closes, the agency will review the feedback, complete the assessment and determine whether to allow TLC to apply septage at 9363 Camp Creek Road.

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Perrin Stein can be reached at or at 582-2648.

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