Right now, Albany County and the City of Laramie are working together to update their plan for safeguarding the Casper Aquifer. This aquifer supplies slightly more than half of the drinking water for Laramie’s 31,000 residents, as well as all drinking water for nearby residents in rural Albany County.
The good news is that the consulting firm hired to update the aquifer protection plan has identified a number of new protections for drinking water that the Wyoming Outdoor Council supports. We’re preparing to submit our own, detailed comments, but if you’re a resident of the area I encourage you to send a brief message encouraging the city and county to adopt the recommendations for the Draft Aquifer Protection Plan.
The Casper Aquifer Protection Area encompasses about 72 square miles that lie east of the City of Laramie, and is specially managed to prevent groundwater contamination. The Outdoor Council supports all the recommendations in the draft update, particularly that the city and county should:
— Prohibit livestock feedlots and commercial turf, such as golf courses, within the protection area. Both can contribute to groundwater pollution through runoff from nitrogen fertilizer and animal waste.
— Require consultation with a geologist or engineer prior to new development to identify geologic features like faults or springs that could serve as a conduit from the surface to the aquifer, confirm if development is appropriate in that location, and determine what protections might be required to do so responsibly.
— Add new strategies for managing possible contaminants — especially requirements for septic system inspections and maintenance, and expanding the network of monitoring wells to help detect pollutants before they contaminate drinking water sources.
The public scoping comment period closes at 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, so please send your comments today. If you have questions, feel free to reach out to me or visit the county’s website. We’ll keep you updated as the planning process proceeds, and let you know how and when you can get involved.