In the Press

JH News & Guide, January 15, 2020

Two prized Jackson Hole streams polluted by E. coli – DEQ: E. coli too high in Fish, Flat Creeks

Fish Creek and portions of Flat Creek have joined the list of “impaired” waters in Wyoming because of elevated levels of E. coli bacteria. The levels exceed standards for recreational contact.

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JH News & Guide, January 8, 2020

Nitrates rising: A concerning groundwater pollutant climbs in some JH reaches

“I don’t want to sound crude, but we’re pooping into our drinking water,” said Dan Heilig, a senior conservation advocate for the Wyoming Outdoor Council.

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JH News & Guide, April 10, 2019

All the stuff we’re flushing needs a better solution

Septic systems leak pollutants into groundwater, but they’re hard to get rid of

In Teton County’s struggle against water pollution, perhaps the most perplexing foe is the septic system. The valley is rife with that common apparatus, though studies have charged it with contributing to the corruption of local water sources. Experts judge the vast majority of soil in Jackson Hole unsuitable for septic systems, yet a third of all parcels in the county dispose of wastewater via the humble device.

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JH News & Guide, December 12, 2018

County’s sewage system is all mapped out

Valley’s wastewater is disposed of by diverse methods, even in the same neighborhood

For the first time a detailed, parcel-by-parcel map shows where sewer lines go and where septic systems sit in the most densely developed parts of Teton County. The map provides a new tool for community planners seeking ways to improve ground and surface water quality, which isn’t as pristine as it seems.

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Buckrail, August 27, 2018

I live in Hoback. Can I drink the water?

Drinking water in the Jackson Hole region is some of the best in the country but that distinction comes with a few caveats. Take, for instance, the water in Teton Village. It is one of the cleanest in the country. An alluvial aquifer deep below Teton Village is recharged by previous years’ precipitation and snowmelt.

Yet the tap water in the Hoback Junction area is notoriously funky. So much so that many residents have simply quit drinking it, preferring to buy container water at a grocery store. High levels of nitrates are to blame in the Hoback Nation. Officials aren’t sure of any one cause but numerous septic systems in the area are likely to blame.

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JH News & Guide, August 1, 2018

Hoback folks avoid drinking their well water

Nitrate concentrations in the drinking water are at the line of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s safe drinking-water standard.

Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality Engineer James Brough, a water-quality specialist, said that nitrate pollution typically stems from agriculture, an unlikely culprit in a community where cropland is limited to hay fields and livestock to a few horses. “I think the Hoback Junction case may be a combination of some lack of oversight in the past,” Brough said, “and a high-density of septic systems for the area.”

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JH News & Guide, August 31, 2016

Lodge sewage not up to snuff

Brooks Lake records are lacking; E. coli readings are off the chart

More often than not over the past decade the operators of Brooks Lake Lodge have not turned in water quality data. At times, when monitoring reports containing water quality data have been submitted, there have been shockingly noncompliant levels of some pollutants.

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Scientific American, June 30, 2016

Wastewater is Key to Reducing Nitrogen Pollution

Upgrading wastewater treatment plants can dramatically reduce a municipality’s nitrogen footprint

Upgrading wastewater treatment facilities as well as household septic systems can be expensive, but such measures can dramatically return bodies of water to health.

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JH News & Guide, June 29, 2016

Investigators wonder what’s fouling Brooks Lake

Algae turns water pea green in summer; fish are struggling

An explosion of algae growth fed by an excess of nitrogen turns Brooks Lake’s waters green late in the summers. The two primary game fish that swim its waters are either unusually skinny and getting skinnier or barely reproducing and on a track toward disappearing.

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JH News & Guide, April 1, 2015

Study to target Fish Creek

Research will determine the sources of nitrogen, phosphorus pollution

Friends of Fish Creek met with a diverse group of west bank stakeholders to discuss a study that will be conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey. The study will be confined to identifying volumes and sources of nutrients — primarily nitrogen and phosphorus — that are introduced into the Fish Creek watershed and promote unnatural levels of aquatic vegetation.

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