As one of the prime spots for eclipse viewing, the city of Casper has been preparing and bracing for an influx of thousands of visitors later in August.
Hotels and campgrounds are nearly booked. The medical community is hoping for the best but planning for the worst. Residents are urged to watch the event at their homes to ease traffic congestion.
The hordes of tourists may at times be taxing for businesses, restaurants, and residents just trying to get around town. Will that many people also be taxing on Casper’s water and sewage systems?
In short, no.
“It’s kind of going to be business as usual for us,” said Brian Schroeder, water plant operations manager at the Central Wyoming Regional Water Treatment Plant in Casper. “Even when we have extra people in town, it’s just domestic water usage,” Schroeder continued.
Ground wells and the North Platte River are the two sources of water for Casper, according to Schroeder. During the winter, the Casper plant sends out about 6 million gallons a day. In the summer when irrigation kicks in, the plant moves 25 million gallons every day. That massive amount of extra water comes right from the river.
Schroeder says the plant is designed to process a maximum of about 42 million gallons of combined well and river water per day. “We have a lot of capability for more water if we need it,” said Schroeder. “We really don’t have an issue.”
All the water that goes down drains and toilets needs to get treated. That’s where the Casper’s Sam H. Hobbs Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility comes in.
“We do expect to see increased flow, but it’s not going to be sustained,”, said wastewater plant manager Megan Lockwood.
On average the plant receives about 7.5 million gallons a day, according to Lockwood. “The plant could handle probably upwards to 12 or 13 million gallons at one time,” said Lockwood.
“We have miles and miles of sewer collection lines,” continued Lockwood. “They are very large pipes that can handle considerably more than they do on a regular basis.”
Portable restrooms will also be in heavy demand during the festival, according to Lockwood. R&R Rest Stops has already booked all of their units, according to a spokesperson there. Lockwood doesn’t expect to see waste from those units come until after people have left town.
Although she doesn’t anticipate any issues, during the entire festival weekend “we will be fully staffed with operations and maintenance,” said Lockwood.
So flush away, but “within reason,” said Lockwood.