Hoback Water Quality

High nitrate levels in Hoback drinking water

About Hoback

Hoback, Wyoming is an unincorporated area in southern Teton County ten miles south of the Town of Jackson. Depending on one’s spatial definition the community has between 300 and 600 residents. Given local pressures on the limited amount of private land in Teton County (which is more than 97% public land), Hoback is expected to grow.

 

The Problem: Groundwater pollution from septic systems

The Snake River aquifer, which provides drinking water for nearly all other Teton County residents, does not reach down to Hoback Junction; private wells must tap into limited groundwater seeping through fractured bedrock. Septic system effluent also percolates down into these openings, where it is able to come in contact with the groundwater.

As a result, drinking water in Hoback Junction has long suffered from groundwater pollution. Local wells regularly exceed the Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum allowable nitrate concentration for human consumption. Even with specific, privately-funded treatment, nitrate levels remain high. As a result, many Hoback Junction residents avoid drinking their well water and purchase water for personal consumption.

 

Finding a Solution: Starting with Water and Sewer District Formation

These issues are now getting the attention they deserve. POWJH led the campaign toward water and sewer district formation in Hoback Junction during Summer 2022. POWJH has also been talking with local partners to find the best short-term solution for Hoback residents’ drinking water while permanent solutions are worked out. Hoback residents are now united behind efforts to fix their chronic water quality problems.

POWJH Hoback Project Timeline

Petition for Water & Sewer District Formation

Summer 2022

Protect Our Water Jackson Hole (POWJH) led a campaign to collect petition signatures for the formation of a Hoback Junction Water and Sewer District submitted to Teton County in August.

Petition Approval

October 2022

The Teton County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the petition.

District Vote

November 2022

District formation will go to a vote for residents, on track for approval by January 2023.

Drinking Water Delivery

November 2022

POWJH begins coordinating one year of clean drinking water delivery service for Hoback residents. This project is funded by a grant from the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole.

Level II water analysis

Fall 2022

Teton County, Teton Conservation District, Crowley Capital, and POWJH funded a Level II water analysis of the Hoback Junction area set for completion in Fall 2023. This study will identify options for correcting Hoback water problems and provide cost estimates.

The Level II analysis will make it possible to apply for Level III construction funding at the State and Federal levels.

DEQ Hoback Investigation

View details about the current WY Dept. of Environmental Quality Investigation:
Hoback Junction Area Nitrate Investigation