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Montana families find flecks of gold in drinking water

Image courtesy: Flickr/Mark Lee

Image courtesy: Flickr/Mark Lee

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Monday, June 9, 2014, 5:34 PM - At least two households in Whitehill Montana have reported finding flecks of gold in their tap water -- leaving residents to wonder what else is floating around in there.

The small town with a population of about 1,000 gets its water from two wells, both of which are in the middle of the community.

NBC Montana has corroborated the report.

According to the news outlet, resident Sharon Brown was doing the dishes last week when she first spotted the flecks.

"She had pulled the plug to let the water out and there were glistening, gleaming little flecks," Sharon's husband, Mark, told NBC.

The family says they're also finding the flecks in their toilet tank. They conducted several tests on the flecks, including adding them to a chemical that dissolves any metal that isn't pure gold.

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Next-door neighbour Paul Harper says he's seeing gold in his tap water too, and it's raising concerns within the town.

"If we're seeing heavy metals that you can see with the naked eye," Brown told NBC, "what else might be in there?"

The local public works agency says their tests indicate there's nothing harmful in Whitehill's water.

An official with the State Department of Environmental Quality suspects the flakes entered the system through some form of approved equipment tied to the Whitehall water supply.

Some residents believe the flecks are coming from a nearby gold mine, but state water quality officials say there's no evidence to back that claim.

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