EPA Takes Action for Drinking Water in 3 States

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 8 issued a total of 34 administrative orders, 7 penalty actions, and 6 notices of violations against public drinking water systems in Montana, Utah, and Wyoming from April 1 through Sept. 30.

More specifically, the number and type of actions were:

  • 9 administrative orders and 3 penalty actions (settled or litigated) in Montana, with an emergency administrative order in Indian country in the state;
  • 5 administrative orders and 6 notices of violation in Utah; and 
  • 4 emergency administrative orders and 15 administrative orders, and 4 penalty actions (settled)in Wyoming and in Indian country in Wyoming.

An administrative order requires the public water system to comply with the drinking water regulations and includes action items for returning to compliance.

The Montana public water systems receiving administrative orders included a casino, two church camps, one church, three mobile home parks, a restaurant and Carter Choteau Water District in Carter.

Penalty actions ensue when a public water system violates an administrative order. The penalty amount is based on a combination of the seriousness of the violations and the size of the population at risk, among other factors.

The Oak Ridge Estates in Billings and the China Wok/Bank of the Rockies in Townsend were the subject of penalty actions, which were settled. EPA also litigated a penalty for the following water system for Lincoln Road RV Park, Helena; $3,000.

Region 8 issued one emergency administrative order in Indian country in Montana during the period from April 1 to Sept. 30, 2009. On April 15, the agency issued an emergency order to the East Bay Subdivision water system on the Flathead Reservation when the distribution system lost pressure. In such situations, potentially harmful contaminants can enter the distribution system through cracks and leaks in the pipes. The East Bay Landowners Association took necessary precautions to protect the residents during the pressure loss, and multiple tests conducted after service was restored proved the water to be safe for normal use.

In Utah, administrative orders went to the following public water systems:

  • Chester Park Water System, Mt. Pleasant, due to its exceedance of the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for total coliform bacteria and failure to monitor for total coliform bacteria, nitrate, lead and copper, pesticides, inorganic contaminants, and radionuclides, and failure to complete a consumer confidence report. The administrative order was issued on June 29, and the system is currently complying with the requirements specified in the order.
  • Dutch John, due to its failure to submit a surface water monitoring plan and failure to monitor for E. coli bacteria, lead and copper, disinfectant levels, turbidity and disinfection byproducts. The administrative order was issued on Sept. 15, and the system is currently complying with the requirements specified in the administrative order.
  • East Carbon City, due to its failure to submit a surface water monitoring plan and failure to monitor for E. coli bacteria, nitrate, inorganic contaminants, volatile organic contaminants, and disinfection byproducts. The administrative order was issued on Sept. 9 and the system is currently complying with the requirements specified in the administrative order
  • Paradise RV Park, Panguitch, due to its failure to monitor for total coliform bacteria and nitrate. The administrative order was issued on Sept. 17 and the system is currently complying with the requirements specified in the administrative order.
  • Sunset Park Water Co., Tremonton, due to its failure to monitor for nitrate, lead and copper, volatile organic contaminants, pesticides and inorganic contaminants, exceedance of the MCL for total coliform bacteria and failure to take required actions after exceedance of the action level for lead. The administrative order was issued on Aug. 31, and the system is currently complying with the requirements specified in the administrative order.

Region 8 also issued notices of violation and will soon issue administrative orders to these systems:

  • Clean Harbors-Aragonite, Aragonite, due to failure to monitor for nitrate, lead and copper, inorganic contaminants, and disinfection byproducts.
  • Harmony Farms Water Users, New Harmony, due to failure to monitor for total coliform, nitrate, lead and copper, volatile organic contaminants, and radionuclides and its exceedance of the MCL for total coliform bacteria.
  • Sorrel River Ranch, Moab,due to failure to submit a surface water monitoring plan and failure to monitor for E. coli bacteria, nitrate, total coliform bacteria, and failure to report turbidity monitoring results. The system has now submitted its surface water monitoring plan and begun monitoring for E. coli.

Notices of violation went to the following public water systems in Utah:

  • Mt. Ogden Stake Camp, Ogden,due to its exceedance of the MCL for total coliform bacteria, and failure to monitor for total coliform bacteria and nitrate. The state deactivated the system as a public water system.
  • Paragonah,due to its exceedance of the MCL for total coliform bacteria, and failure to monitor for total coliform bacteria, nitrate, and inorganic contaminants. The state issued the system a bilateral compliance agreement covering the violations.
  • Woods Ranch, Parowan,for failure to monitor for total coliform bacteria and nitrate. EPA obtained all missing monitoring data from the laboratory and the system returned to compliance.

On Aug. 18, Region 8 issued an emergency administrative order against Bighorn National Forest’s Burgess Junction Visitor Center in Sheridan County, Wyo., after the presence of E. coli bacteria was found in a water sample, constituting an acute violation of the MCL for bacteria. Additional emergency administrative orders were issued on July 21, to Medicine Bow Lodge in Carbon County and on Aug. 18, to Y-O Ranch Estates in Wheatland following similar acute violations. In each case, the systems are making improvements to their treatment and/or operational processes to prevent future violations. EPA continues to monitor each system for compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Separately, on April 10, 2009, Skyline Village Motor Home Park of Rock Springs was issued an emergency administrative order after the presence of E. coli was found in a water sample. On Sept. 21, EPA closed the order based upon the system’s full compliance and completion of its planned actions that ensure compliance with bacterial MCL requirements.

In Wyoming, EPA issued administrative orders to Arlington Outpost, Arlington; Country Meadow Estates, Laramie; Elk Refuge Inn, Jackson; Farson MHC, Farson; Town of Fort Laramie; Jackson Hole Airport, Jackson; Lewis Mobile Home Park, Rock Springs; Mountain View Estates, Cheyenne; Mountain Village Park, Big Piney; Town of Rock River; Snake River Mobile Home Park, Jackson; Southside Well Improvement Service and District, Gillette; Turnerville Water and Sewer, Bedford; Wagonbox RV Park, Story; and Wrangler Estates, Gillette.

EPA settled 4 penalty actions with the following public water systems, with the penalty amount noted: Buckhorn Bar, Newcastle, $1,303; Elk Refuge Inn, Jackson,$1,000; Six K, Inc., Laramie,1,202; and Ethete Public Water System, Ethete, Wind River Reservation,$12,750.

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