By Mike Dunn 

Water classes defined

 


The recent proposal to dump effluent into the North Platte River has stirred up controversy in the Platte Valley.

On March 6, the Town of Saratoga, Carbon County Impact Joint Powers Board (Water and Sewer board) stated that they could no longer dump effluent into Hot Slough Creek due to a change in water classification. Instead, the town will have to install a transmission line into the North Platte River. The project is projected to cost the town over one million dollars.

Town Engineer Chuck Bartlett provided The Saratoga Sun with a Department of Environmental Equality (DEQ) packet containing details of water classification throughout Wyoming.

“The Wyoming Surface Water Classification List,” published June 21, 2001, states that the DEQ takes 10 use designations into consideration when classifying surface waters. These designations include drinking water, game fish, non-game fish, fish consumption, other aquatic life, recreation, wildlife, agriculture, industry and scenic value.


Classifications for surface waters are determined as the criteria individual use designations are either met or not. A Class I surface water meets every use designation listed and/or is located within “National Parks or Wilderness.” Additionally, a Class I is considered to be the highest classification for surface waters.

According to “The Wyoming Surface Water Classification List,” The North Platte River, from the Colorado state line to the mouth of Sage Creek (15 miles downstream from Saratoga), is specifically identified as a Class I surface water.

Bartlett said that Hot Slough Creek was once listed as a Class IV waterway, which is considered to be the lowest classification. Once game fish were found in Hot Slough Creek, the classification of the stream became a Class II ‘C’ stream.

Waterways that fall into Class II ‘C’ classification are defined by the DEQ as waterways with non-drinkable water and non-game fish.

 

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