Wyoming's water relatively cleaner than streams nationwide

Mar 27, 2013

A new report by the Environmental Protection Agency shows that streams in Wyoming are in better condition than the national average. The study collected about two thousand samples from streams nationwide to determine the quality of the water.  Denise Keehner is Director of the EPA’s  Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds.  She says Wyoming is divided into four eco-regions – in those eco-regions water quality is poor in 26% to 43% of streams, while the national average is 55%.

“Waters in those eco-regions when you look at them combined are between 10 and 30 percent fewer stream miles that are in poor biological condition compared to the national picture,” she says.

Keehner says drought conditions could affect pollution rates in the coming years. For example, in the Midwest drought has caused less runoff and, as a result, less pollution going into the streams.

“It really does depend on what’s going on in the landscape whether or not particular climactic conditions could exacerbate poor conditions or make things better,” Keehner says.  

Keehner adds that the EPA wants to continue to do similar studies every five years. The recently released draft report is for sampling done in 2008 and 2009, and is currently open to public comment.

More information can be found here.