Idaho Conservation League finds 76-percent of Idaho wastewater treatment facilities have violations

Posted at 10:19 PM, Jun 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-26 00:20:00-04

BOISE — It's an unpleasant finding, most of Idaho's wastewater treatment plants are not doing their jobs adequately. That's according to the Idaho Conservation League.

The Idaho Conservation League’s third annual study of Idaho's wastewater treatment plants found more than 76% had EPA violations.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires these treatment plants to meet certain standards of water quality before the wastewater is discharged into Idaho's water bodies. This study found wastewater in most of Idaho’s treatment plants had some sort of harmful bacteria, chemicals, or toxic metals, for a certain time period during 2018.

"Idahoans love to be in the water. We love to swim in it, love to fish in it, so we get a lot of contact with recreation, but this has indirect consequences too. Some of this water may be used for drinking water facilities," said Austin Walkins, Senior Conservation Associate for the ICL.

ICL said if you catch a fish that had been swimming in this toxic water, and then eat that fish, that could have harmful consequences to your health.

Luckily for the Treasure Valley, none of our treatment plants had more than three violations, which is a small number compared to the worst treatment plant in Inkom, Idaho, where they had 161 violations.

Often times, however, the biggest reason behind a violation, is lack of money for upgraded technology, making it a bit harder, especially for smaller areas, to afford the upgrades and ensure healthy water.

At this point, the Idaho Conservation League is working with all wastewater treatment plants who had violations, to help make sure that pollution stops.