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WWRC 86-05n
Wyoming's Approach to Nonpoint Pollution Control


Point source wastewater discharges (i.e., discharges from discrete conveyances such as pipes) have been regulated by the state NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) program since its adoption from EPA in 1975. The program currently administers 900 permits, 50 on which EPA retains some oversight due to facility size. NPDES permits regulate point source discharges by establishing permit specific numerical effluent discharge criteria directed at maintaining long-term instream water quality standards adopted in Chapter I of the Wyoming Water Quality Rules and Regulations, Quality Standards for Wyoming Surface Waters.

Violation of these standards by non-point sources of pollution attributable to the activities of man requires the development of best management practices (BMPs) which is addressed largely through the priorities established in the certified basin and statewide section 208 (Clean Water Act), Water Quality Management Plans, and the CPP (Continuing Planning Process) used to develop BMPs and incorporate them into plan updates.

In the absence of specific information on background erosion rates, and an instream sediment standard, the recommendations of the 208 plans have been to address the abatement of accelerated non-point pollution by the voluntary adoption of site-specific, land use-oriented BMPs on priority drainages that have been shown by monitoring to consistently impair instream water quality standards. The Fifteen Mile Creek and Muddy Creek riparian grazing-water quality studies are a result of this non-regulatory approach towards development and adoption of voluntary best management practices, which appear to be the selected alternative at this time in this state to more comprehensive land use regulation.

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