Public comments sought on Grand Teton water project

The National Park Service is conducting environmental compliance for proposed improvements to potable water and fire suppression water infrastructure located between the Colter Bay Village and Jackson Lake Lodge areas of Grand Teton National Park. The proposal is available for public review, and comments will be accepted through October 16, 2014.

Currently, three wells at Pilgrim Creek provide potable and fire suppression water for the Jackson Lake Lodge and Colter Bay Village developed areas. These wells and their supply lines provide potable water for a portion of the 2.6 million visitors annually, as well as over 900 seasonal and 140 year-round NPS and concession employees living in both locations.

During the summer, these wells provide more than 500,000 gallons of water per day for domestic water needs, as well as for structural fire protection of both historic and non-historic buildings, according to information released by the park’s public affairs office.

Park managers say the project is needed because two of the three wells and their associated well house are located in the floodplain of Pilgrim Creek. During spring runoff, the subgrade chlorination vault often floods. At times, the high water level makes the well house and well controls inaccessible. When this infrastructure cannot be maintained or repaired, the risk of contamination of the water supply is high. Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) requires that well house buildings be constructed at least three feet above the 100-year flood level, or the highest known flood elevation.

The project also addresses the need to replace water transmission lines from the Pilgrim Creek wells to the Jackson Lake Lodge storage tank and the Jackson Lake Lodge developed area. These water lines were installed in the 1950s and are in need of replacement. The Colter Bay Village water transmission lines and storage tanks are in acceptable condition and do not require replacement.

With this project, the park would abandon two wells, remove their associated well house, and consolidate two new wells and a winterized well house with the existing Pilgrim Creek Well #2 location, which is about 1500 feet from Highway 89. A new water transmission line would replace the existing line from the Pilgrim Creek wells to the Jackson Lake Lodge storage tank and the Jackson Lake Lodge developed area. Relocating the well house and wells would:  1) allow 16,200’ of aging transmission line to be abandoned and remove critical infrastructure from the floodplain; 2) bring critical maintenance activities closer to developed areas; 3) replace aging and failing water transmission lines; and 4) remove year-round, daily human activity from over 400 acres of valuable wildlife habitat.

For more information and to comment on this project, visit or write to: Grand Teton National Park, Attn: Planning Office, P.O. Drawer 170, Moose, WY 83012. Comments submitted via U.S. Postal Service must be postmarked by October 16, 2014. Public comments and the names of those making the comments may be released to the public at the end of the comment period in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.

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