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Wyoming Water Development Commission 
Harry C. LaBonde, Jr., PE, Director 
6920 Yellowtail Rd, Cheyenne, WY 82002 
Phone: 307-777-7626 

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 11. PROJECT:Big Horn Regional Water Supply
SPONSOR:Big Horn Regional Joint Powers Board
LOCATION:Big Horn, Washakie, Hot Springs Counties
PROGRAM:New Development
Purpose Chapter Session Account Appropriation Due Date
Level II 36 2000 I $160,000 2002
Level II 86 2001 I $670,000 2002
Level III 88 2001 I $5,500,000 2007
Level II 7 2002 I $675,000 2002

In 2000, BRS Inc. completed a Level II investigation of ground water potential for a municipal water supply in the southern Big Horn Basin. Eight (8) well sites were investigated within the southern Big Horn Basin that could potentially yield abundant (>500gpm), good quality (<500 mg/l TDS) water. These sites were chosen on the basis of geologic structure, drilling depths, geothermal gradient, distance from known geothermal activity, accessibility, and potential ground water quality. An extensive review of ground water data within the southern Big Horn Basin reveals that the most likely aquifer to yield abundant, good quality water is from the Paleozoic-age Madison-Big Horn Aquifer system. A secondary target aquifer, that is deemed viable in the study, is the Cambrian-age Flathead Sandstone.

Of the sites considered, a location at the Wild Horse Anticline (13 miles east of Thermopolis) and a location at the Buffalo Creek monocline (6.5 miles SE of Thermopolis) both ranked as top choices. A test well was drilled in September/October of 2001 at the Wild Horse Anticline site as a Madison-Big Horn Aquifer completion. Production yields from this well were low (~ 60 gpm) and therefore did not meet the requirements of the sponsor. The original intent of ground water exploration in Hot Springs County was to establish a southern basin well field capable of providing yield to match or exceed maximum daily use requirements of potential Hot Springs County users (including the town of Thermopolis) and provide a supplemental supply to other users to the north if and when needed. One well would not feasibly nor reliably meet this requirement. Therefore, it is the wish of the Big Horn Rural Joint Powers Board to pursue the second test well. A suitable test drilling site will be chosen in early 2003.

The continued Level II study will also include determining the feasibility of expanding the joint powers service area in Big Horn County. Potential rural users who have shown interest in regional supply are Greybull River users SW of Greybull, Basin Gardens, and users west of Basin to the area centered at Otto. The Town of Burlington may also benefit from regional supply and rural users beyond Burlington at Emblem may fall in a feasible service area.

The 2000 WWDC Level II Study by BRS Inc. also completed an investigation of routing a second transmission pipeline from the Worland well field down the Nowood River valley then south to Worland. Along this route the pipeline would connect with South Big Horn Rural JPB system (SBHRJPB, supplied by Manderson wells) and with Washakie Rural Service & Improvement District (supplied by Worland). Worland's existing 24" pipeline from its well field has failed twice recently, demonstrating the vulnerability of their potable water supply. The Level II also explored conceptual plans for looping and connecting the northern portion of the regional system between SBHRJPB and the Town of Greybull. It was revealed that chlorination facilities in northern Hot Springs County are needed because of low chlorine residuals in that portion of the regional system.

The Level III funding is for construction of that portion of the alternate regional pipeline from the City of Worland's existing well field to the users in the Big Horn Basin and a regional pipeline crossing the Big Horn River was provided by the legislature in 2002. The engineering design is underway.

No legislative action required.

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