State officials wonder if wastewater facility has impacts ‘we’re not aware of.’
While state officials are interested in understanding whether the plant may be depositing ammonia into Flat Creek, they aren’t planning to establish limits on how much of the compound that’s toxic to fish can be deposited into the Snake River.
“The main issue here is the dilution that’s available in the Snake River,” said Jason Thomas, program manager for the DEQ’s Wyoming Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.
The draft permit contains new provisions about monitoring Flat Creek but also removes requirements for the town plant to monitor ammonia levels annually in wastewater discharge. Town officials monitor on a monthly basis.
The plant does struggle to break down ammonia, particularly in the winter. Consultants found that the plant struggles in colder months because bacteria in the lagoons that break down ammonia — separate species from those that treat organic waste — are sensitive to temperature.