The Saratoga Sun -

Mystery solved?

Enigma at Saratoga lagoon potentially tied to skewed test results


March 24, 2021

Saratoga’s Department of Public Works has been trying to figure out exactly why they are experiencing a high level of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) in their lagoon effluent. It appears, now, that the issue may be with the lab that has been performing the testing.

As was reported previously (see “Mystery at the lagoon” on page 6 of the January 20 Saratoga Sun), Director of Public Works Jon Winter had informed the Saratoga-Carbon County Impact Joint Powers Board (SCCIJPB) of the ongoing issues. What made the high numbers mysterious was that every other piece of data being looked at was at normal levels.

To continue to look for answers, the Department of Public Works took two samples of the lagoon effluent and sent them to two different labs to perform BOD testing. One was the state lab in Laramie while the other was Energy Labs in Casper.

“The results came back and they were completely different. About as opposite as you can get,” said Winter at the March 10 SCCIJPB meeting. “The state lab showed the same pattern that we’ve been seeing for the last four to six months in increasing BODs through our system and having higher BODs coming out of the system than they were going in. The Energy Lab results showed that we had a 95 percent reduction.”

With two vastly different results, the Department of Public Works took two more samples from the lagoon effluent and sent them, again, to the state lab and Energy Labs with the intention to try and verify the first test results

“If those numbers come back consistent, we’ll obviously be going to Laramie to talk to the state lab about their BOD protocols and procedures,” Winter said. “Just to keep them up to speed, I’ve been keeping the DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality), Kevin Wells, apprised of what we’re doing and he was even suggesting that they could come out and do a duplicate sample set as well. Which I think would be advantageous as well.”

Winter added that if the second set of tests and the DEQ testing verified the test results from February, then it is possible that the lagoon was never dealing with high BOD levels.

“That’s why it was such a head scratcher because all the other data metrics in our sampling protocol didn’t show a change,” said Winter. “Just BODs.”

The next meeting of the Saratoga-Carbon County Impact Joint Powers Board will be at 6 p.m. on April 14 at the Platte Valley Community Center.


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