The Town of Powder River is located 35 miles west of Casper on US HWY 20-26. Powder River
was platted as a townsite in 1920 but remains unincorporated. It has a population of 43. Shallow
individual domestic-sized wells serve the area.
The "Tumble Inn well" has not been able to comply with "Safe Drinking Water Act" regulations.
This well provides service to several users. On September 28, 2001 the EPA issued an
Administrative Order on Consent (AOC), Docket No, SDWA-08-2001-39. Water supplied by the
well exceeds the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for nitrates (=10 mg/L nitrate) and total
coliform (>1 positive sample/month total coliform). The average of samples taken in 1999 from
the well is 29.1 mg/L nitrate. Monitoring results for the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 1999 and the 2nd
and 4th quarters of 1997 exceeded the MCL for total coliform. Additional violations include
failure to test well water, failure to notify the public of violations, and failure to report violations
to the EPA.
The "Tumble-Inn well" reflects water quality problems found in all wells used at Powder River.
Individual domestic wells are not regulated for conformity with the "Safe Drinking Water Act."
Well owners in Powder River have long been aware of the dangers associated with drinking water
from town wells and have either hauled water or had purified water delivered. The AOC lists
interim measures (staying on imported drinking water and posting public notices) that must be
implemented and also requires implementation of long-term corrective measures.
The first step required will be for implementing long-term corrective measures is to submit an
application to the WWDC for a Level I water supply master plan. Powder River residents will
be given the choice of pursuing the best alternative(s) identified in the WWDC study. The WWDC
study will concentrate on identifying contaminate sources, evaluate treatment
alternatives for exiting wells, locate alternative ground water source supplies (e.g. deep
drilling), and will provide cost estimates for the various alternatives. If a centralized water system
is recommended, Powder River residents will be required to form a public entity prior to
construction. If the recommended alternative consists of installation of individual treatment
system, an entity would not be required.
RECOMMENDED LEGISLATIVE ACTION:
No legislative action required.