Public Notice No. 6977

Final Notice and Public Explanation of a Proposed Activity in a 100-Year Floodplain



Final Notice and Public Explanation of a Proposed
Activity in a 100-Year Floodplain

To:  All interested Agencies [Federal, State, and Local], Groups and Individuals.

This is to give notice that the HUD under part 58 has conducted an evaluation as required by Executive Orders 11988 and 11990, in accordance with HUD regulations at 24 CFR 55.20 Subpart C Procedures for Making Determinations on Floodplain Management, to determine the potential affect that its activity in the floodplain and wetland will have on the human environment for CDBG under the Water and Sewer Line Project.  The proposed project(s) is located about ½ miles south of Fort Laramie at the town’s wastewater lagoons in Goshen County, Wyoming.  The purpose of these improvements is to address the following deficiencies at the Town of Fort Laramie’s (town) wastewater lagoons:

1.    Correct issues related to excessive seepage into the underlying water bearing units from lagoon #3 (lagoon #3 presently does not have a synthetic HDPE liner installed).
2.    Correct anticipated lagoon capacity limitations based on current lagoon configuration by expanding the size of lagoon #3.
3.    Repair possible PVC liner damage to wastewater ponds #1 and #2.
4.    Remove excessive biosolids accumulation from all three lagoons to improve treatment processes.
5.    Install floating baffle curtains (two in each of ponds #1 and #2) to improve overall treatment processes of the facultative pond system.

6.    Install additional slide gates to improve operational control of the facultative wastewater ponds.
The town’s existing wastewater lagoons consist of three facultative ponds located on an 8-acre property owned by the town and located about 0.5 miles south of Fort Laramie and just north of the North Platte River.  The wastewater lagoons are located entirely within the Zone ‘A’ floodplain, and Zone ‘A’ encompasses approximately 90 or more acres of floodplain immediately surrounding and including the wastewater lagoons.   
The Town of Fort Laramie has considered the following alternatives and mitigation measures to be taken to minimize adverse impacts and to restore and preserve natural and beneficial values:  
1.    Relocating the town’s wastewater lagoons to another location outside the flood zone where they are currently located.

This alternative was considered, however, it was determined to be cost prohibitive and to a large degree, impractical.  The town’s current wastewater lagoons (where the proposed improvements are to take place) are existing, and have been in place for almost 60 years, with upgrades completed as recent as 1992. This project does not propose to construct a new wastewater treatment facility at this location, but simply to make necessary enhancements to the existing facility infrastructure, which will improve the treatment process.  

Constructing a completely new wastewater treatment facility would be extremely costly for the town, and would indefinitely postpone necessary improvements to their current facility by years, not months or days.  The town would have to secure property somewhere outside the floodplain, and even if property can be found, they would then have to redesign system treatment processes and infrastructure (i.e. access roads, treatment lagoons with possible mechanical processes, sanitary sewer collection piping, transmission piping, and etc). This is all before they bear the cost and time of complete reconstruction.  Therefore, this alternative was not considered a practical solution to address their current wastewater treatment needs.

2.    Do nothing alternative.

The do nothing alternative was considered.  The town could simply go on using their wastewater lagoons as they have been.  Although this is by far the most cost effective solution, it does not address problems they are currently having with their lagoons.  Lagoon #3 does not have a synthetic lining system associated with it, and there is concern that excessive seepage is occurring from this lagoon into the underlying alluvium.   The “do nothing” alternative does not address this issue.  Also, since the all three lagoons were installed, there has never been any biosolids (sludge) remediation completed at this facility.  As a result, the water quality in lagoon #3 actually can be of a lesser quality than in lagoon #2.

Therefore, the do nothing alternative does not address the issue of excessing seepage from lagoon #3 into the underlying alluvium, and it does not address the water quality concerns in lagoon #3. These are two issues the town needs to address soon, so they can more efficiently operate their wastewater treatment facility.

To protect the floodplain and surrounding wetlands, the town will require the contractor to prepare and put into place a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) to address potential concerns related to erosion and silt transport off of the site during construction. The SWPPP will be prepared and processed through the State of Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality: Water Quality Division for approval.
The Town of Fort Laramie has reevaluated the alternatives to building in the floodplain and has determined that it has no practicable alternative.  Environmental files that document compliance with steps 3 through 6 of Executive Order 11988 and 11990], are available for public inspection, review and copying upon request at the times and location delineated in the last paragraph of this notice of receipt of comments.  This activity will have no significant impact on the environment for the following reasons:
The Town of Fort Laramie has determined that there will be no significant impact to the floodplain for the following reasons:
1.    The improvements to be undertaken are associated with the town’s existing wastewater lagoon system.  This is a facility that is already in place, and has been in operation for almost 60 years.
2.    The improvements to be undertaken as a part of this project should enhance the floodplain and surrounding wetlands.  Lagoon #3, which currently does not have a synthetic liner associated with it, will have a modern HDPE or reinforced LLDPE lining system installed that will prevent seepage into the underlying alluvium associated with the North Platte River.
3.    By removing biosolids (sludge) from the lagoon system and installing floating baffle curtains in lagoons #1 and #2, the town will be able to provide a more effective wastewater treatment process, resulting in an improved water quality in lagoon #3.
4.    By upsizing lagoon #3, the town will be reducing the frequency of temporary discharges to the North Platte River because they will have more storage capacity.
5.    Replacing the existing lining systems in lagoons #1 and #2 will further improve the integrity of the Town of Fort Laramie’s wastewater treatment system.
There are three primary purposes for this notice.  First, people who may be affected by activities in floodplains and those who have an interest in the protection of the natural environment should be given an opportunity to express their concerns and provide information about these areas.  Second, an adequate public notice program can be an important public educational tool. The dissemination of information about floodplains can facilitate and enhance Federal efforts to reduce the risks associated with the occupancy and modification of these special areas.  Third, as a matter of fairness, when the Federal government determines it will participate in actions taking place in floodplains, it must inform those who may be put at greater or continued risk.
Written comments must be received by the Town of Fort Laramie at the following address on or before March 9, 2019:  Town of Fort Laramie, 102 W. Otis Street, Fort Laramie, WY 82212 and (307) 837-2711, Attention:  Neal Stone, Deputy Clerk-Treasurer, during the hours of 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.  Comments may also be submitted via email at
Date: March 1, 2019

Public Notice No. 6977 published in the Torrington Telegram March 1, 2019.