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Region 6 Environmental Contaminants

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Success Stories - Wyoming

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Lead Shot

photo of the wetland after restorationThe Wyoming EC Program has provided technical assistance to the Partners for Fish and Wildlife program. In 1992, EC technical assistance averted a lead shot problem at a wetland development project in a former sewage pond in Buffalo, Wyoming. Elevated lead levels in soil and sediment led to further investigation which revealed the source as lead shot. The former sewage pond was once used as a shooting range. The lead shot was confined to the upper two inches of soil. During construction of the wetland project, the upper six inches of soil was removed and disposed of in accordance with Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality requirements. The wetland project proceeded, and the site now provides habitat for breeding aquatic migratory birds.

Oil Field Waste Pits and Bird Mortalities

The Wyoming EC Program has partnered with the Law Enforcement Division and EPA to investigate migratory bird mortalities in oil field waste  pits and non-compliance with other environmental regulations (Oil Pollution Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) by oil field operators. In 1997, approximately 400 oil field waste pits were surveyed from the air by a USFWS Special Agent and EPA. Approximately 216 sites were identified as potential problems. Ground inspections involving the Wyoming EC Program, EPA, USFWS Special Agents, as well as state and federal co-regulators, further identified sites requiring remediation and follow-up by co-regulators. Several operators have been issued notices of violation by either the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality or the Bureau of Land Management and have been instructed to either clean up their sites or enclose oil pits with netting to prevent migratory bird mortality. The EPA has issued administrative orders under RCRA 7003 on a few of the worst sites to obtain cleanup. The combined effort of state and federal agencies as well as peer pressure from within the oil industry has resulted in the cleanup of a vast majority of the sites. 

photo of an oil-covered pit
Oil-covered pit at a commercial oil field
wastewater disposal facility in
Campbell County, Wyoming.
USFWS Photo by Gary Mowad.
Photo of the disposal facility after remediation of the oil pit
Commercial oil field wastewater disposal
facility in Campbell County, Wyoming
after remediation of the oil pit.
USFWS Photo by Pedro Ramirez, Jr.

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