Teton County’s first comprehensive land-use plan in 1978 recognized the threat that mismanaged wastewater and poorly functioning septic systems posed to our valley’s water. A related study conducted at that time identified high groundwater and coarse soils in many areas of the county as incompatible with septic systems leading to contaminated drinking water wells. Water quality protections included in the 1978 plan were removed in the 1994 rewrite, leaving groundwater quality vulnerable to pollution from septic systems and other sources. Decades later, the critical need to protect our water resources was mostly absent from our current comp plan.
In 2020, POWJH spearheaded the effort to improve water quality protections in the 2012 Teton County Comprehensive Plan updates. The result was the inclusion of language that broadened the scope of a strategy calling for a “water quality enhancement plan” to include a wastewater management plan. The town and county approved the update to the 2012 comp plan on November 2, 2020.