The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Water Quality Division (WQD) is releasing results from Escherichia coli (E. coli) sampling conducted by staff on Flat Creek, Fish Creek, and the Snake River.
The samples were collected approximately every two weeks from May 9th until August 10th. DEQ is releasing this data at this time so that the public is aware of potential health risks associated with recreating in these waters. The data were collected to evaluate whether E. coli criteria were exceeded at these sites.
E. coli is an indicator of waterborne pathogens intended to protect swimmers from gastrointestinal illnesses in cases where water may accidentally be ingested. The criteria are risk-based and derived from the United States Environmental Protection Agency recommended criteria. All water must be treated prior to drinking.
The results show multiple exceedances of the criteria on two sites on Fish Creek and one exceedance of the criteria at one site on Flat Creek. The upper site on Fish Creek is located on United States Forest Service land adjacent to Fish Creek Road; the lower site on Fish Creek is located in the Town of Wilson near the Fish Creek Road bridge.
The site with the exceedance on Flat Creek is located just upstream of where the creek crosses under Highway 89 before Flat Creek meets with the Snake River.
No exceedances were found on the Snake River.
DEQ plans to evaluate these data when developing Wyoming’s 2020 Integrated 305(b) and 303(d) Water Quality Report. This report summarizes water quality in Wyoming and lists impaired waters that do not meet water quality standards.
If Fish Creek and Flat Creek are listed as impaired, DEQ will work with interested stakeholders to develop a plan to identify sources of E. coli and steps that can be taken to reduce these concentrations so that the streams meet water quality criteria.