Knowledge is power in real estate: Work with the right agent to make sure you are educated.

Post Date: Jan 06, 2020

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All properties have information about them that can be readily accessible to any consumer or real estate agent including ownership and tax records. It's fairly easy to locate those details online but what you might be missing if you're not working with an educated, well informed agent are details that could be even more important than you realize.

Bozeman and the surrounding Gallatin Valley are a mecca for outdoor recreation and pristine mountain beauty. Scenes of unspoiled snowfields, spring meadows alive with fauna and flora or a bubbling stream falling gently by a hiking path are what most of us would associate with the area we call home. What most residents don’t think of is industrial waste super fund sites but the reality is, that’s also part of who we are. Back in the late 90’s most Bozeman residents were made aware of a pesky little water problem locally known as the “Buttrey Plume”. This problem arose in the former Buttrey’s Shopping Center on Main Street (15th Avenue and Main Street) and ballooned to encompass a fairly large portion of land right in the middle of the valley.

The Buttrey Plume was officially labeled the Bozeman Solvent Site when it entered State Superfund site status. A dry cleaning business operated in the Buttrey’s Shopping Center from 1960 to 1993 and dumped PCE, a known carcinogen, right down their drains.  Now groundwater, saturated soils, and soil vapors at the site are contaminated with tetrachloroethene (PCE), a dry cleaning chemical, and its breakdown products. Those contaminates spread further into the valley through groundwater eventually reaching as far away from the original site as North of the Gallatin River (See attached map).   

With the latest updated data available online, published June 2015, by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality wrote, “In June 2015, the City and CVS will conduct a second enhanced bioremediation injection to further stimulate the microorganisms that breakdown the PCE.” The original plans to remediate this Superfund site were slated to possibly take up to 30 years.

To set your mind at ease, water within the municipal water systems in Southwest Montana is not delivered directly from sources within the Superfund site but some homes within this area do have independent wells. Knowing what exists under your property is important. Using a knowledgeable real estate agent who has been working with clients in Southwest Montana long enough to understand the idiosyncrasies of our area and how or why they might impact the value of your property is really important.

The City of Bozeman and private entities have already spent millions dollars on a comprehensive clean-up plan as well as continuing to monitor and address problems associated with this site.

Bozeman is absolutely one of the most beautiful places on our planet (ask the people who live here) and it consistently ranks in an astonishing number of “Best Places to” lists. Whether you’re considering real estate investment in the fastest growing “Micropolitan” in the US or moving your family here for an unparalleled quality of life, it’s best to work with a real estate agent that understands where you’re buying and what impact the area will have on the value of your investment over many years to come.