Hoback Junction Area Nitrate Investigation

Investigation Documents

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Related Programs

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.

The study area is shown on the “Study Area” figure.  The study area encompasses properties proximal to the Hoback Junction Area, including a subdivision immediately south of the Hoback River. 

An advisory group consisting of an Executive Committee and a working group was established to facilitate and oversee the development of the Site Assessment Report, including development of a CSM  describing the cause of impacts to private wells in the study area.  The Executive Committee consists of one (1) representative each from DEQ Groundwater Section, WDEQ Water and Wastewater Section, Teton County, and Teton County Conservation District.  The WDEQ Groundwater Section representative chairs the working group.  

The scope of work for the Hoback Junction Area Investigation can be downloaded here.

Questions regarding the working groups can be directed to Lily Barkau at lily.barkau@wyo.gov or 307-777-7072.

To date, the working group has been compiling available information for the Hoback Junction Area, including but not limited to, geology, hyrdoegology, land uses, well information, and water quality data in order to develop a CSM. The CSM is a functional understanding of the area, and the contamination sources and extent. The Working Group has developed a draft outline of the information currently considered for inclusion in the CSM and can be downloaded here. 

Questions regarding the CSM can be directed to Nicole Twing at nicole.twing@wyo.gov or 307-777-8275

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Teton County, and the Teton Conservation District hosted a virtual meeting on July 8, 2021 at 6:30 pm to discuss the ongoing investigation into the Hoback Junction area nitrate levels. Meeting topics included project background, scope of work, ongoing work, and associated challenges. A recording of the virtual public meeting can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/AFehFT-Fbp0