Bridger Creek Subdivision resident shares concerns


BOZEMAN, Mont. - The city of Bozeman said they are moving forward with more testing of gases seeping into homes near an old landfill, but some residents explained they are not satisfied with the steps the city is taking. Bozeman first alerted residents of Bridger Creek Subdivision Phase III to the landfill gases last June. Testing of the homes began shortly after that, then the city paid to install systems to remove the gas. And now, they've announced plans to expand groundwater sampling in the areas near the landfill. But last month, a group of residents in the neighborhood filed a claim, asking Bozeman, Gallatin County, and the state of Montana to pay them millions for damages. "The longer I'm in here, the more and more I'm concerned," said Bridger Creek resident Joe Kitowski, who built his dream home in 2004. But seven years later, that dream turned into a nightmare, when they found out gases from an old landfill nearby were seeping into their home. "We had our house tested and our test results came back higher than what is obviously normal," he said, "and we had a mitigation system put in and our test results are still high." At the time, the Kitowskis had their home for sale, but Joe said their realtor told them it wouldn't sell. "Our house was taken off the market just because we're not going to be able to sell it," he said. The city paid for mitigation systems in all the houses, and now plans to expand testing to groundwater. But some residents feel it's not enough. Four households filed a claim against the city asking for millions in damages, and another Bridger Creek resident said other homeowners are looking at legal action. Kitowski said his main concern is his family's health, especially for his two young children, and hopes the city will step up even more to resolve the situation. "The faster we can move everything along to either mitigate the problem or get the homeowners out of their homes is best," he said. The city has yet to respond to the claim filed by homeowners, but the City Public Works Department recently sent out a letter to residents in the Bridger Creek Subdivision inviting them to a meeting to explain the groundwater sampling, give a progress report of the mitigation efforts so far, and provide an overview of plans for constructing a new remediation system. The city of Bozeman will hold the public meeting on Tuesday, March 4, at 6:30 p.m. in the Bozeman Holiday Inn on Baxter Lane.