A message from Protect Our Water JH:
JACKSON, Wyo. — Teton County is currently facing water quality impairments in Fish and Flat Creeks and drinking water issues around Hoback Junction. Our community has an opportunity to prioritize clean water through the upcoming Specific Purpose Excise Tax (SPET). #15 Water Quality Projects SPET measure will reduce pollution in our prized Fish Creek and Flat Creek. Two specific projects include:
- Getting rid of aging septic systems polluting our Fish Creek watershed by connecting them to the Wilson Sewer District
- Stopping sediment, trash, as well as oil and grease from the 5 gas stations that line Broadway from polluting Flat Creek by installing stormwater systems
Once-in-a-generation federal funding opportunities are now available for clean water and wastewater treatment infrastructure. However, these funding sources will require local government to provide matching funds.
A critical initiative is moving forward toward clean water. Teton County has launched the Water Quality Master Plan (WQMP) in partnership with Protect Our Water Jackson Hole (POWJH), Teton Conservation District and the Town of Jackson, led by a consulting and engineering team from Trihydro.
The WQMP aims to protect water resources from future degradation and improve water quality where known pollution is occurring. The plan will focus on the human element of protecting drinking water and the environmental component of protecting water resources.
The Town of Jackson has also taken direct steps to address water quality recently, including a study to evaluate the capacity and expansion of the current sewer and municipal wastewater treatment facility, a stormwater study and a commitment as a community to prioritize water quality.
Despite these critical steps, the real work is yet to come. Now is the time for the public to prioritize water quality and support the Water Quality Projects SPET measure.
Significant energy, effort, and likely expense will be needed to implement the recommendations from the WQMP. We cannot get to the end of the planning effort and just start to think about funding.
While there are once-in-a-generation funding opportunities, the competition for these federal funds will be stiff. To obtain the funding for these priority projects, the Town and the County must provide matching funds. If this does not happen, we could lose out on significant federal funding for clean water.
Known problem areas already exist and are becoming priorities for implementing the plan. Our water quality issues are hitting home – hitting your neighborhood.
All of Fish Creek and portions of Flat Creek are listed as impaired waterways by the Wyoming DEQ due to elevated E. coli levels. There is PFAS contamination around the JH Airport. While the Airport is trying to mitigate this pollution, the bottom line is PFAS are contaminating the groundwater.
Elevated nitrates are documented in several neighborhoods across Teton County and are the strongest indicator of human contamination due to septic systems. The drinking water in the Hoback Junction area has reached the point where it is unfit for human consumption based on exceeding the EPA’s maximum allowable nitrate concentration. Kelly, South Park, Hog Island, and Alta all have had elevated nitrate levels. Do we want these neighborhoods to become another Hoback?
You have the power to ensure clean water is a right for every citizen of Teton County.
This SPET measure will provide matching funds and demonstrate to the State of Wyoming and the Federal Government that Teton County has prioritized water and wastewater initiatives.
Now is not the time to sit back but to engage and support clean water. Important clean water decisions today will determine the future of our water resources.
We know that…
Our community needs affordable housing.
Our seniors need assisted living.
Our firefighters need better facilities to protect us.
But please remember that all of our community members also need clean water.
Support SPET Proposition #15.
To learn more, visit powjh.org/spet.