In addition to the every day operations of permitting and compliance, the Groundwater Program also conducts special investigations regarding potential groundwater contamination or impacts.
On June 23, 2013, the State of Wyoming announced that it would further investigate drinking water quality in the rural area east of Pavillion, Wyoming.
The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) and the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC) have been leading this scientific investigation and will seek to address water quality concerns by evaluating the water quality of certain domestic water wells, the integrity of certain oil and gas wells, and historic pits in the Pavillion area.
The state’s investigation seeks to clarify water quality concerns and assess the need for any further action to protect drinking water resources. Wyoming will continue its work to assure residents have a clean source of drinking water available.
The DEQ received notification of water quantity and quality issues on August 11, 2017 for two existing and two deeper, replacement private domestic wells located 18 miles northeast of the Town of Moorcroft, Wyoming. The two existing domestic wells which had previously produced a good quantity of water had gone dry and the two deeper replacement wells had identified low pH (< 4 s.u.) in them.
A public meeting was held on October 12, 2017 in the Town of Moorcroft to answer questions on the recent water quality/quantity issues. In addition, a survey was distributed to identify well owners that may have noted potential water quality issues and to solicit access to sample those wells.
The DEQ received a complaint and a request to investigate two septic systems in the Hoback Junction Area on February 10, 2020 to determine if these facilities required permitting through the WDEQ Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program. The WDEQ in conjunction with Teton County conducted inspections of the two facilities and determined that one facility did not require a WDEQ UIC permit, and the second facility would require a UIC permit and had a non-permitted discharge to groundwater. The WDEQ worked with the landowner to remove the unpermitted discharge, and worked with the landowner to bring the facility into compliance with permitting requirements.
Subsequent to the facility inspection, the WDEQ received a second complaint and request for investigation on June 16, 2020 to investigate the cause of groundwater contamination in the Hoback Junction Area. The complaint specifically requested that the DEQ investigate and determine the cause(s) of nitrates in groundwater supplying local public and private water supply wells exceeding the EPA maximum contaminant level of 10 mg/L.