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EPA acts to ensure safe drinking water for Wyoming residents

Release Date: 07/26/2007
Contact Information: Diane Sipe, 303-312-6391, David Janik, 303-312-6917,

Summary of actions taken

      (Denver, Colo., July 26, 2007) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 8 issued 22 administrative orders, one emergency administrative order and settled four complaints for penalty in Wyoming from June 2006 through March 2007.

    EPA issues an emergency order when there is a potential for imminent and substantial endangerment to public health, such as when contaminants have been identified in a public water system or when the public water system has experienced a disruption in the system that may endanger public health.

    On March 26, EPA Region 8 issued an emergency administrative order against High Meadow Ranch, Boulder, Wyo.

    The order was based on a potential imminent and substantial endangerment to human health resulting from a loss of pressure in the distribution system when a well ran dry. A loss of pressure may cause a net movement of water from outside the water pipes to the inside through cracks, breaks or joints in the distribution system that are common in all water systems. The water moving into the pipes may carry disease-causing organisms such as bacteria, viruses and parasites which can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. Young children, the elderly, and people whose health is weakened, such as people who have long-term illnesses such as cancer or AIDS are at greater risk of severe illness.

    EPA ordered High Meadow Ranch to conduct the following actions to ensure that the people served by the water supply were provided with safe drinking water: (1) provide public notice, including an advisory for the water users to boil the water before consuming it; (2) provide an alternative source of potable water; (3) make improvements to the well and clean and flush the system before restoring it to service; and (4) conduct increased monitoring for total coliform bacteria.

    High Meadow Ranch fixed the problem by drilling a new well to replace the well that ran dry. Recent total coliform bacteria monitoring showed the system to be free of contamination. EPA continues to monitor the public water system for compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act.

    EPA issues an administrative order when a public water system violates the SDWA and its regulations. An administrative order requires the public water system to comply with the drinking water regulations that it violated and includes action items for returning to compliance. EPA issued administrative orders to the following public water systems:

    Big Horn National Forest, Sibley Lake Campground, Sheridan, Wyo.
    Black Hills National Forest, Cook Lake Campground, Sundance, Wyo.
    Bridger Teton National Forest, Granite Creek Campground, Jackson, Wyo.
    Country Burgers, Farson, Wyo.
    Dixon, Town of, Dixon, Wyo.
    Fort Lone Tree Bible Ranch, Glendo, Wyo.
    Glory Hole Home Owners Association, Gillette, Wyo.
    Grand Teton National Park, Teton Science School, Moose, Wyo.
    Hartville, Town of, Hartville, Wyo.
    Horse Creek Station, Jackson, Wyo.
    Hudson, Town of, Hudson, Wyo.
    Kinnear Store, Inc., Lander, Wyo.
    Lone Tree Bible Ranch, Glendo, Wyo.
    Prairie View Campground/Skypilot Ministries LLC, Lusk, Wyo.
    Sinclair Refinery Golf Course, Rawlins, Wyo.
    Sleeping Bear Ranch RV Resort, Lander, Wyo.
    South Park Village Subdivision, Jackson, Wyo.
    Sports Bar, Gillette, Wyo.
    The Cavalryman, Laramie, Wyo.
    The Place, Saratoga, Wyo.
    Uinta County Youth Camp, Evanston, Wyo.
    Vista West Subdivision, Sundance, Wyo.

    EPA issues a complaint for penalty when a public water system violates an administrative order. EPA may settle a complaint for penalty for a monetary payment, the amount of which is based on a combination of the seriousness of the violations and the size of the population at risk, among other factors. EPA settled complaints for penalty with the following public water system with the penalty amount noted:

    Big Valley and Crossed Arrows Home Owners Association, Meeteetsee, Wyo.
    Penalty Amount: $1,000.

    Deer Haven Lodge, Ten Sleep, Wyo.
    Penalty Amount: $650.

    Evanston Lodge, Evanston, Wyo.
    Penalty Amount: $350.

    Heart Six Guest Ranch, Moran, Wyo.
    Penalty Amount: $800.

    SDWA establishes specific regulations to assure the safety of public drinking water. In the State of Wyoming, EPA directly implements the SDWA and issues enforcement actions to public water systems that fail to comply with the SDWA and its regulations.

    EPA oversees the protection of public health and the environment in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. Compliance and enforcement are important components of public health and environmental protection which encourage governments, businesses and other regulated entities to meet their environmental and public health obligations.