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.