Report: 520 discharge violations from ID sewage plants in 2022
Thursday, September 28, 2023
A new report finds more than half of the sewage facilities in Idaho had pollution violations in 2022.
The sixth annual analysis by the Idaho Conservation League says 57% of the state's wastewater treatment plants discharged harmful substances last year.
Will Tiedemann, conservation associate with the Idaho Conservation League, said the report focuses on facilities that had the potential to cause the most harm - such as those releasing wastewater in sensitive habitats.
He said size has had an impact on those violations in recent years.
"There's quite a few facilities that are a little smaller and they do deal with outdated equipment," said Tiedemann, "either failed, you know, or were built 20, 30, 40 years ago."
Collectively, there were 520 violations of the Clean Water Act by Idaho wastewater treatment plants in 2022. The report focuses on three facilities that accounted for a quarter of the violations in Driggs, Jerome and Kuna.
Tiedemann noted that there are some positives in this report. Facilities in 51 cities and towns reported no discharge violations.
Others made significant improvements from 2021 to 2022 - including those in Blackfoot, Marsing and Wilder.
"This isn't an insurmountable issue," said Tiedemann, "that numerous examples of facilities who have dealt with issues and have made the investments and put in the resources and the time and the hard work to address this issue. So we definitely commend those facilities."
Tiedemann said having the means to curtail violations can be a major issue, especially for smaller towns. But he said federal resources are available, including through COVID-19 relief funds.
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