Water Quality in Hoback Junction
Hoback, Wyoming is an unincorporated area in southern Teton County ten miles south of the town of Jackson. The area has around 500 residents. Given local pressures on developing private land (more than 97% of Teton County public land), Hoback is expected to grow.
In January of 2024 Buckrail's Leigh Reagan Smith published a useful summary of our efforts to bring clean water to Hoback.
Hoback sits at the confluence of the Snake and Hoback Rivers. But the Snake River aquifer, which provides drinking water for nearly all other Teton County residents, does not reach down to Hoback Junction. Hoback water comes from private wells that tap into limited groundwater seeping through fractured bedrock. The effluent from septic system percolates down into these openings, where it comes in contact with the groundwater. This is the likely cause of the high nitrate load that characterizes the area, and the reason that many Hoback Junction residents buy water for personal consumption.
These issues are now getting the attention they deserve. A local non-profit, Protect Our Waters Jackson Hole (POWJH), led a campaign to create a water and sewer district formation in Hoback Junction. The district was formed in February of 2023; I'm district chair, as well as a member of the board of POWJH.
Several local entities (Teton County, Teton Conservation District, POWJH and Crowley Capital) have funded a Level II water analysis of the Hoback area. This analysis, which should be completed in late 2023, will identify options for correcting Hoback water problems as well provide an estimate of their cost. The Level II analysis will make it possible to apply for Level III (construction) funding at the State and Federal level for the creation of a domestic water supply system.