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Billings water plant operating at normal capacity after river level drops overnight

Posted at 6:23 AM, Jun 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-16 14:11:15-04

BILLINGS - The Billings water plant was operating at normal capacity Thursday morning after river conditions improved overnight.

City officials said in a press release residents can go back to normal water use.

"At this point there are no signs we will have issues operating as we move forward," city spokeswoman Victoria Hill said in the press release.

City officials announced Wednesday the plant had shut down Tuesday night after flows in the flooding Yellowstone River rose above 15 feet.

"We want to thank the citizens of Billings for your cooperation and helping us get through the day on Wednesday," Hill said. "We are aware yesterday’s alert to the community caused a panic. That was never our hope, and we only wanted to keep everyone informed. We have never witnessed a situation like the one we saw yesterday. On Wednesday morning, we did not know how bad it could get or how long it would continue. It is always our intention to provide water to our community, but in that moment, it was not clear how long our supply would last."

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Hill said many residents have asked how the upcoming West End Reservoir would’ve helped in this situation.

"The new reservoir will have the ability to hold more than 30 days’ worth of water," she said. "In Wednesday’s case, the new reservoir would’ve isolated water from the river. The new reservoir is still scheduled to break ground by late this summer/early fall and construction will begin the following spring/summer."