GREEN RIVER — The Department of Environmental Quality has completed a report that identified “significant non-compliance issues” at the Water Treatment Plant in Green River.
In the report conducted by the DEQ’s Water Quality Division and issued to the Joint Powers Water Board on May 22, the department says two unpermitted outfalls were located on the premises in addition to the three permitted outfalls.
“At the time of the inspection, one of the unpermitted outfalls was discharging a foul smelling, rust-colored water that left staining below the outfall,” according to the report. “Two of the three permitted outfalls were discharging at the time of the inspection, and these outfalls were not being monitored as is required by the WYPDES permit.”
DEQ Questions Reporting Habits
The report also states there is evidence suggesting that Outfalls 002 and 004/005 at the site may have been discharging for an extended period of time without being monitored, and false discharge monitoring reports (DMRs) submitted indicating “no discharge” from these outfalls.
DEQ spokesman Keith Guille said reports have to be made to the WQD each month about what discharges are being done at water treatment plants in the state, “and those reports weren’t being done,” in Green River.
“So now we are awaiting a reply from the board as to how they are going to rectify the situation or if they have any other information for us,” Guille said.
While Guille was quick to point out that he wouldn’t call the discharge from the unpermitted outfalls “illegal dumping,” the non-compliance issues were concerning enough that WQD management is reviewing the data for “elevated action.”
Guille said the DEQ does not permit for drinking water in Wyoming. That type of permitting is handled by the Environmental Protection Agency.
“But through that processing there is by-product water, like filtration, that is being discharged,” Guille said. “And that’s what we are looking at.”
Plant Manager Response
Plant General Manager Bryan Seppie confirmed that the issues are happening at the discharge points, “and are not related to the drinking water” used by residents of Rock Springs, Green River, the special service districts of White Mountain, Ten Mile, Clearview, and James Town-Rio Vista, as well as industrial water supplies to Simplot Phosphates.
“Some of the problems we’ve seen are related to the physical nature of the discharge points,” Seppie said. “Some of the issues we were able to address right after we received the report. But we will reply to them all with a course of action, and then we’ll get back to the DEQ for their input.”
Seppie added “we take compliance seriously and in the midst of the inspection these issues were brought to our attention, and they will all be addressed.”