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As part of the City of Pocatello’s National Pollutant Discharge Permit, the City is notifying the public of an incident involving elevated levels of bacteria being discharged into the Portneuf River in wastewater leaving the Water Pollution Control (WPC) facility.
On May 9, higher than normal levels of E. coli bacteria were found in the wastewater leaving the plant. Before entering the river, the wastewater is treated using an ultraviolet disinfection process.
“This is not an emergency and the drinking water systems of Pocatello and surrounding communities are not impacted,” said Michael R. Jaglowski, PE, Public Works Director.
The issue was corrected May 10 and the facility was brought back into compliance.
“Immediately, plant processes were evaluated and staff found that the facility was operating normally. According to instrumentation, there were no problems found with the ultraviolet disinfection process,” said Jaglowski. “Going forward, we are continuing to evaluate our treatment processes, sampling protocols, and testing procedures to identify the cause of the bacteria and eliminate it from our system.”
Officials say if you have the potential to ingest water from recreational use of the Portneuf River downstream of the WPC facility and have specific health concerns you should consult your doctor.
“Water taken directly from the Portneuf is not considered safe to drink under any circumstance as harmful bacteria are constantly present in the waterway,” said Jaglowski.
Residents who may have questions are urged to contact WPC staff at 234-6254.