News Feature | December 25, 2017

Wyoming, Nebraska Mull Drinking Water Pipeline Project

Peter Chawaga - editor

By Peter Chawaga

To circumvent some pervasive water quality issues, two Midwestern states may team up on an ambitious infrastructure project.

“A proposed two-state project would treat North Platte River water in Wyoming and send water in a pipeline from the treatment plant to western Nebraska,” according to a report from The News Tribune.

The supply is part of an alliance that is meant to serve 11 communities and rural districts in both Wyoming and Nebraska, so the pipeline would be transporting drinking water to communities that have contracted with that alliance. Those communities are interested in the water because of excessive arsenic, uranium, and nitrates within their own supplies. Piping treated water from Wyoming might be a cheaper option than addressing the problem themselves.

“Treating for arsenic, uranium and nitrates is more expensive than standard water treatment that removes dissolved solids,” explained Jeff Fuller, the pipeline project manager, per The News Tribune. “Water quality for every municipality changes as they continue to drill wells. They have to drill new ones when existing wells fall out of compliance.”

Officials are currently looking through the details of the project, which would require 100 miles of pipeline. A public meeting to discuss the project will be held next spring.

“We should have some results available within a year,” Fuller said. “But from numerous studies over the years, this seems to be the best solution. Municipalities won’t have to worry about the long-term quality of their water.”

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Image credit: "Sweetwater River near Martin’s Cave," Wayne Hsieh, 2017, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: