Tester Announces $4.74 Million to Bring Clean Drinking Water Back to Worden & Ballantine

USDA Rural Development investment will secure a new water source for the Yellowstone County communities that have been relying on bottled water since 2019

As part of his push to bolster rural water infrastructure and expand access to clean drinking water across Montana, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $4,740,000-$2,621,000 in loans and $2,119,000 in grants-into securing a new drinking water source for the Worden and Ballantine communities which currently lack access to potable water.

“Families in Worden and Ballantine have had to drink store-bought bottled water since their source of drinking water was identified as contaminated back in the summer of 2019,” said Tester. “Water is life, and without it, towns like these are at risk of drying up. That’s why investments like this are so critical-they help rural communities access drinking water from the tap once again, ensuring that their kids and grandkids will have safe, potable water for years to come.”

This funding is allocated by USDA’s Rural Development program, and it will be used to secure a new drinking water source by constructing new groundwater wells, a well house, and a water main crossing with 8″ mains. Rural Development funds, along with local funds, will be used to assist the district in securing a new water source as its users are currently only able to drink bottled water. The district’s water source is failing, and new infrastructure is needed to alleviate serious health and sanitary violations.

Tester has been fighting alongside Montanans to improve water infrastructure in communities across the state. He has been working closely with the St. Mary’s working group to pass his bipartisan St. Mary’s Reinvestment Act, which will help make rehabilitating the St. Mary’s Diversion Dam more affordable. Earlier this year, he secured $435,000 to make improvements to the dam and reservoir in the Lower Willow Creek Irrigation District, and he brought in $750,000 for water system improvements in Harlowton, and $185,000 for Sweet Grass County.