Excess wastewater emptied into Popo Agie was within permitted amount but more than typical, WDEQ reports

    (Hudson, WY) – It was reported yesterday, June 3, that local wastewater treatment lagoons in Hudson were emptied into the Popo Agie River sometime between May 30 and 31.

    The treated wastewater was reported to have been emptied by “a disgruntled employee,” according to a post shared on the Wind River Cares Population Health Facebook page on June 3, and other news sources were able to determine that the wastewater was “normally treated water,” and “not raw sewage water.”

    At the time, County 10 reached out to Wind River Cares for further context, but they advised that we “Please contact the DEQ or state for a statement.”


    County 10 was unable to reach representatives from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) yesterday when we called after 5:00 PM during non-business hours (when we saw the post), but today, June 4, WDEQ’s public information supervisor Kimberly Mazza was able to clarify the situation.

    While Mazza stated that the initial notification WDEQ received indicated that the wastewater was emptied by a disgruntled employee, that aspect was not confirmed by the WDEQ, nor is it being investigated by their agency. Mazza also stated that the WDEQ did not share any information regarding the alleged disgruntled employee as a part of any official statement.

    Mazza advised that any information about the person(s) responsible for emptying the wastewater would have to come from the Town of Hudson, but as mentioned in yesterday’s report, Mayor Oler stated that she “cannot respond” so as to not “interfere with the ongoing investigation into the matter.”

    As for the details surrounding the wastewater incident, Mazza did confirm that the WDEQ was notified by the Town of Hudson on Friday the 31st that “someone increased the release of wastewater from the Town’s lagoon, sometime between Thursday and Friday morning.”


    Mazza said that “the town immediately addressed the increased release when it was discovered on the 31.”

    Mazza went on to clarify that Hudson does have a Wyoming Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WYPDES) permit to discharge the lagoon outfall into the Popo Agie River, but the permit limits the town to discharging up to 280,000 gallons a day as a monthly average

    “They typically discharge about 83,000 gallons a day,” Mazza stated, “but this day was estimated at 210,000 gallons of wastewater. They’re within their permit limits, but it is more than what that they typically do.”


    Mazza also confirmed what was reported yesterday, in that the discharged wastewater “should have been similar” to the quality of wastewater normally discharged from the outfall, was “not raw sewage,” and that it was “just at an increased volume.”

    As for the next steps, the WDEQ is investigating and already sent representatives to the area yesterday to learn more about the situation and continue to evaluate if there were any violations with the permit.

    Mazza stated that at this point, it appears that no violations of that permit will be found, but the WDEQ will continue routine monitoring to confirm that the wastewater lagoons are operating correctly.


    “Out of an abundance of caution,” the WDEQ will be conducting water quality monitoring for E. coli, which Mazza stated is “an indicator used to determine the risk of the waterborne pathogens.”

    This monitoring will be done at high recreation beach areas at the Boysen Reservoir starting this week.

    After speaking with Mazza this morning, the WDEQ later issued an official press release on the matter, which also states the following:

    With the treated wastewater being within its permitted levels, the DEQ does not anticipate impacts to water quality from the release, particularly given the high spring runoff flows in the Popo Agie River. However, out of an abundance of caution, the DEQ is conducting water quality monitoring for E. coli (an indicator used to determine risk of waterborne pathogens) at high-recreation areas downstream of the discharge.

    EPA Region 8 implements the drinking water program in Wyoming. The DEQ contacted EPA Region 8 to determine if there were any downstream drinking water intakes that could possibly be impacted. Based on discussions with EPA, there are no drinking water intakes that would have been impacted from the Hudson discharge. The Town of Hudson obtains its drinking water from a series of groundwater wells located upstream of where the release occurred. Drinking water systems for downstream communities obtain water from groundwater wells or surface waters not impacted by the discharge. All public water systems are required to treat water to drinking water standards established by EPA.


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