By Liz Wood 

Discharge will be dispursed

Change in permit protects two bodies of water


Bill DiRienzo from the Wyoming Department of Quality (DEQ) office attended the Saratoga-Carbon County Impact Joint Powers Board (Water and Sewer Board) in November, to answer questions about the Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) requirement to move the sewer lagoons discharge from flowing into Hot Slough Creek, to going to the North Platte River.

The project is estimated to cost around $1 million. Town of Saratoga Engineer Chuck Bartlett said he won’t know if the grant is approved until Jan. 16. The State Land and Investment Board is recommending approval of the loan to the town of Saratoga.

One resident is not convinced that this is the best solution. Steven Heinitz said he can’t stand by and watch this happen. “We have a blue ribbon river,” Heinitz said. Heinitz said he doesn’t understand how the EPA can require the town to discharge the treated water into the North Platte River.

Water and Sewer Board Chairman Don Price said the treated water has always gone to the North Platte River, but through the Hot Slough Creek.

Heinitz said he believes the river is pristine and the ammonia will ruin the water of the North Platte River.

Bill DiRienzo, with DEQ, said that the problem with the Hot Slough Creek is there is no dilution at this time and that affects the aquatic life in the Hot Slough Creek, and that is the reason a discharge order was changed to the Platte River. DiRienzo said the DEQ writes permits based on flow condition and uses the lowest seven-day flow in the last 10 years.

With the new discharge permit, DiRienzo said there is no change in the amount of ammonia going into the North Platte from when it was going through the Hot Slough Creek.

Bartlett said the discharge will not be concentrated in one area, as it was when going through the Hot Slough Creek. With the new design, a perforated line will be in the river allowing the discharge to be diluted quicker and more efficiently.

The problem was, DiRienzo said, that the ammonia was concentrated too high for Hot Slough Creek. “That piece of stream was being sacrificed,” DiRienzo said.

Making this change in discharge makes both streams within the standards required by EPA, DiRienzo said.

“I think it is great that people are asking questions and getting more involved in what is happening with the Platte River,” Platte Valley Trout Unlimited President Jim States said, “I think we need more people to be more involved.”

But, when people express their concerns to the public, they have a responsibility to know something and not just go with a gut reaction, States said.


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