Teton County, Wyoming Commissioners: We Need County-wide Wastewater Planning Now

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Protect Our Water Jackson Hole (POWJH) proposes to partner with Teton County to complete an urgently needed Wastewater Management Plan (WMP) for Jackson Hole. As part of this proposal, POWJH will fund half of the cost of completing the WMP, up to the sum of $250,000, with the remainder to be funded by Teton County. We need your support. Please sign the petition and join us in asking our Board of County Commissioners to support our Comprehensive Wastewater Planning Proposal to protect public health and water quality across Teton County, WY.

Note: Please just sign and share the petition, no need to "chip in" to get the petition on the agenda. Thank You!

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Nutrient pollution is one of the most critical, challenging, and costly environmental problems facing the United States today. Nutrient pollution is also quickly becoming one of Teton County’s most widespread, expensive, and challenging water quality issues. If left unchecked, it will result in serious environmental and human health issues.

Some of the sources of nutrient pollution include; wastewater, landscape fertilizers, livestock, horses, pets, and stormwater runoff. High levels of nitrogen from these sources can pollute groundwater, our primary source of drinking water. Drinking water with high nitrates can be dangerous to people's health. When rivers and streams, and ponds are impacted by nutrient pollution they can produce harmful algae blooms that impact peoples health, can be toxic to fish, and alter habitat for many aquatic species. Nutrient pollution will also negatively impact recreation, tourism, and property values while driving up water treatment costs in the future.

Although reducing nutrients from all sources is important, wastewater is the key to significantly reducing nutrient pollution. In recent years, communities that have committed to proactively protecting their water resources and reducing nutrient pollution have found that improving wastewater treatment and properly managing onsite septic systems can dramatically return bodies of water to health.

The effects of sustained growth in Teton County have had a profound impact on the development of regional wastewater infrastructure. Aside from the Town of Jackson’s centralized sewerage system, the lack of strong regional coordination has led to a distributed patchwork of small wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), independent sewer districts (ISDs), and small onsite wastewater facilities known as septic systems.

As our population and the number of visitors to our valley have grown that patchwork of WWTPs, ISDs, and septic systems have become responsible for treating larger and larger quantities of waste. As a result, some of these systems no longer remove enough nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater before it is discharged into our surface or groundwater. This negatively impacts our vital groundwater and drinking water sources.

The lack of county-wide wastewater planning has led to a loss of efficiency and economies of scale while having adverse effects on the health of our residents and the health of our local waterways. In the absence of any coordinated wastewater planning, the economic, regulatory and environmental issues surrounding this issue will only increase - exponentially.

Planning for wastewater treatment and disposal facilities is critical for every community to protect public health and maintain a high quality of life. With that in mind, Teton County must act now to prepare a Wastewater Management Plan to address the collection, treatment, and disposal of wastewater in Jackson Hole.

We cannot afford to wait. Without immediate action our precious rivers, streams, and drinking water sources will continue to be polluted and the solutions will become more expensive.