Drinking Water Contamination

The groundwater in the Snake River Alluvial Aquifer is designated as a SOLE SOURCE AQUIFER by the EPA for drinking water for all of Teton County, WY.

This designation has been created because:

1) The aquifer provides drinking water for nearly the entire population of the region.

2) We have NO ALTERNATIVE drinking water source if our aquifer becomes contaminated.

 

And yet, nutrient pollution in Jackson Hole is contaminating our drinking water every day that goes by. Elevated concentrations of nitrates in our drinking water, documented in several locations across Teton County*, are the strongest indicator of human contamination. The drinking water in the Hoback Junction area has reached the point where it is unfit for human consumption based on exceeding the EPA’s maximum allowable nitrate concentration.

*The Teton Conservation District found elevated nitrates in parts of Hog Island, Snake River trailer park, parts of Kelly, Pub Place which is directly above Melody Ranch homes, and Old West Cabins in South Park.

Teton County has 113 Public Water Systems – many with a history of noncompliance:

  • 60 of these Public Water Systems have amassed 166 violations over the last three years ranging from exceedances of: E. coli concentrations; Nitrate-Nitrite concentrations; the revised total coliform rule, and/or failure to follow the consumer confidence rule.
  • Many of these are repeat violators.

Most Teton County Public Water Systems lack the basic protections of Source Water Assessments and Source Water Protection Plans.

  • Learn about Public Water Systems and Source Water Assessments and how they affect you.
  • The Safe Drinking Water Act requires states to create a Source Water Assessment Program for all public drinking water systems.
  • Wyoming is the only state that does not require Source Water Assessments. The Wyoming program is voluntary.
  • Teton County has 113 Public Water Systems – more than any other Wyoming county. Very few have current Source Water Assessments.
  • The key to preventing contamination of Wyoming’s public drinking water supplies is to develop protection plans.