Storm water at Malmstrom

  • Published
  • By Cody Koontz
  • 341st Civil Engineer Squadron
Malmstrom operates under three storm water permits. These permits cover a variety of activities, but the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit is applicable to everyone who enters the base. This permit regulates what we can discharge off base. All of the major cities in Montana (as well as the universities) follow the same guidelines.

The inlets on the streets collect storm water and convey it to one of six discharge points called outfalls. The water that leaves these outfalls flows north and eventually discharges to the Missouri River. If you walk along the River’s Edge Trail below Rainbow Dam, you can see where the water enters the Missouri River. For this reason, it is important to watch what we are doing on base; both base personnel and residents.

One simple way to improve our water quality is to wash all vehicles at a car wash. The wash water contains sediment and vehicle fluids that are considered storm water pollutants. You may be thinking, “Sediment is natural, why is it a pollutant?” While sediment is natural, it can increase erosion and effect the fish habitat in the river. In certain concentrations, sediment can even be lethal to fish.

It is imperative to keep our storm water as clean as possible. If you would like to learn more about Malmstrom’s efforts to improve water quality, check out the Storm Water Management Plan at