Most Sewage Treatment Plants in Idaho Are Not Making the Grade

During 2014–2016, Idaho wastewater treatment plants racked up 1,768 violations of the Clean Water Act.

Nearly every city in Idaho is located on the banks of a river or lake. Why? Because these waterbodies play a key role in getting rid of a community’s sewage. When someone flushes a toilet, the contents do not go straight into the river. This sewage is first processed in the community’s wastewater treatment plant. Treated wastewater is then almost always discharged to a lake or river.

Municipally owned sewage treatment plants play a very important role in protecting human health, water quality and fisheries. Conversely, a poorly run sewage treatment plant places all of these at risk.

The Idaho Conservation League has just released a new report—actually a report card of sorts—that reviews the last three years’ performance of all 114 municipal sewage treatment plants in Idaho. The results are disturbing:

  • 81% of the sewage treatment plants in Idaho have violated the Clean Water Act within the last three years. This earned these facilities a failing grade.
  • Just 19% of the sewage treatment plants in Idaho have zero violations. These facilities received a passing grade—and our acknowledgement that a perfect record is no accident. These communities have prioritized clean water.
  • The 10 worst-performing facilities are responsible for a whopping 49% of all violations.

Download a copy of our report (1 MB PDF) and see how your local sewage treatment plant did. Take a look at the worst 10 performers—yes, we are naming names.

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