A nonprofit said more trash is being thrown into Hyalite area outhouse toilets, making it difficult to find people willing to remove the garbage before pumping poop out.

Julie Nelson, Friends of Hyalite vice president, said when trash gets thrown into outhouse toilets somebody has to remove the garbage before they can pump the poop out.

“Those big hoses can’t suck the garbage through them,” Nelson said.

The nonprofit, which maintains and raises money for the popular area, keeps track of how many cars drive up to the reservoir. It found from May 16 to June 10 there was an estimated weekly average of 5,000 cars driving up the canyon.

Wendi Urie, recreation program manager for the Custer Gallatin National Forest, said the agency has a “heck of a time getting anyone to service” the toilets because of the trash.

“I’ve pretty much called everybody who shows up when you do a Yelp search on septic cleaning,” Urie said.

In the past three years, she said, the Forest Service has closed outhouses at two trailheads twice because no one was willing to pump the toilets. Urie said that causes concern for where people are excreting waste around the watershed that supplies Bozeman’s drinking water.

“It’s of primary importance to keep that watershed healthy,” Urie said. “And if we can’t keep outhouses open, that potentially compromises our ability to keep the watershed clean.”

Last summer, she said, the Forest Service received one bid from a Dillon company for the job. They’ve found someone who’s doing it right now, but Urie declined to provide any further detail on the company.

She said it becomes expensive when someone comes from a long distance to do the work. Prices range anywhere from $500 to $800 per pump, depending on where the outhouse is and the size of the toilet vault. On average, she said, the forest service has to pump those toilets twice a year.

Urie said avoiding the problem is as simple as coming to the campgrounds prepared to take your trash home with you. She said don’t put stuff you wouldn’t put in your home toilet inside the national forest service toilets.

“It’s their national forest, and helping us keep it clean and cared for means thinking about the pack it in, pack it out method,” Urie said.

Freddy Monares can be reached at fmonares@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2630. Follow him on Twitter @TGIFreddy.

Reporter

Freddy Monares covers politics and county government for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

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