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Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Rest of The Story on Last Night's Flooding - Raw Sewage Floods Lakeside Condos

This is one of several important posts today - be sure to scroll down to review all

If anyone in Ogden Valley has wondered why there is a strange odor around the Ski Lake area the word on the street is that it is coming from raw sewage dumps and overflows from the Mountain Sewer Corp. owned by Mr. Ron Catanzaro.

The facts appear to be that some of the sewage pumping equipment has not been working properly at the Lakeside Village Town homes for several years and Mountain Sewer has decided rather than to fix the pumps, they would instead pump the excess sewage from the town homes into tanker trucks, then move it to a private community in the same area and dump it in to their sewer manholes. When some of the neighbors in the private community witnessed this they questioned Mr. Catanzaro’s reasoning since the sewage could be dumped directly into his company’s sewer ponds along Old Snow Basin Road and not into sewers within the private community.

While Mountain Sewer does not seem to see anything wrong with trespassing on private property and dumping raw sewage in a private community, think how any of us would react if a company dumped raw sewage from other locations into the sewers on your street.

All of this resulted in a Ski Lake Special Service District meeting on Tuesday, January 25th with the County Commissioners to allow for public input about Mountain Sewer Corp. problems and other related items on the District’s agenda for the day.

Following the January, 2011 meeting of the Ski Lake Special Service District many of the Mountain Sewer users wrote a letter to the Weber County Commissioners to again outline these problems and ask the Commissioners to resolve these problems by bringing Mountain Sewer into operational compliance. It was revealed that Mountain Sewer never has had a operator’s permit as required by the State. There has been no reply from the County Commissioners on this letter.

The Weber County Commission as the body politic has oversight responsibility for the Ski Lake Special Service District and Mountain Sewer. They are responsible for oversight of Mountain Sewer Corp.’s operation. It appears that Weber County has been seriously remiss in their oversight responsibility.

Last night, March 16th, the sewage pumps at the Lakeside Village complex were not able to handle the sewage flow once again and numerous Town homes were flooded with sewage waste. It is a deplorable situation that requires immediate action from our County Commissioners.

For years, some operators of sewage systems have gamed the system by intentionally interconnecting storm and sanitary sewer systems, resulting in sanitary sewage being diverted to storm sewers and, untreated, into public waters. The less sewage you treat, the cheaper it is. We don’t know for sure that such a condition exists with Mountain Sewer, but we do know that massive amounts of storm water wound up in the Mountain Sewer sanitary system. Could it have been through an intentional interconnection?

The other possibilities, of course, are bad design or malfunction, or a combination of the two. In any case, storm water and sewage are not supposed to intermix, and they sure did, here, and fifteen condo owners and renters are up to their ankles in raw sewage as a result.

In addition to the dumping of raw sewage and an ineffective pumping system, Mountain Sewer appears to have bookkeeping problems. It is well know among the residents served by Mountain Sewer that Mr. Catanzaro has failed to collect from several property owners sewer connection fees regulated by the State. It is rumored that he himself has failed to pay these same fees on properties that he owned. What is ironic about all this is that Mr. Catanzaro pleads that he has no money to make the necessary repairs to his pumping equipment and needs a rate increase to cover his operation costs while he is not collecting the basic fees and payments from everyone on his system.

In addition, it has come to light that Mr. Catanzaro offered cut rate hookup fees for water and sewer to prospective lot buyers in order to boost his lot sales. The problem with this offer is that it is not legal to reduce the price of water and sewer hookups for anyone when these fees are regulated by the State of Utah. Anyone that has received this “deal” from Mr. Catanzaro should verify that he made up the difference on the “cut rates” and deposited the full amount in the Mountain Sewer accounts. If this has not been done, those lot owners may have to pay the difference to Mountain Sewer at a later date. The State Of Utah has contacted Mr. Catanzaro on this issue.

While the media was on site last night, they seemingly missed the real story of Raw Sewage and the faulty pumps.

Storm causing flooding in Weber, Morgan counties -

And from this morning's Standard Examiner:

Rain Causes Flooding in Weber, Morgan


West Indian Archie said...

What is the surprise here?????? A developer that takes advantage of the citizens or the fact that the Weber County Commission failed to perform their duty of oversight????

The elected leaders of our County are supposed to be protecting the citizens instead of being in bed with the developers. Research has indicated that Mountain Sewer was almost never given the oversight by the people in Weber County.

Do you think the Commissioners are doing their jobs???


How smart does unbridled development look now, commissioners?

How smart does trusting that your campaign contributor/developer friends are really building quality infrastructure, and not having your crack engineering department riding herd on them look now, commissioners?

How does all that tax revenue look now, commissioners, when 15 owners at Lakeside Village will (and should) apply to have their valuations lowered because they have toilet fish on their living room floors?

This incident gives new meaning to criticism that our county administration STINKS.

Teri said...

Corrupt developers. What a shock. In reality, that's what we call the new capitalism.

A D Little said...

If you wish to make a difference, write to the Weber County Commissioners about this issue. This is a sample of what is going on in Ogden Valley. There are other special service districts in our Valley, do you want this to happen to you? Make sure our Weber County Commissioners hear from you. Their addresses are available on the VCRD website

Joe Doaks said...

The really good news is the PSC of Utah and the health department, have all been notified about the Mountain Sewer fiasco last night. The fact that Mountain Sewer failed to obtain the proper operating permit will certainly be an issue for the corporation to explain.

Teri said...

I have to admit I don't know anything about these type of sewer systems. Can anyone point me in the right direction to do some studying? Will this be the same type of system that the Green Valley Academy will be putting in?

Mr. Wizard said...

If all of this is correct, how can Curtis Christensen still have a job??? As Weber County engineer, he is apparently the administrator for the Weber County Commissioners and should be held accountable for the failure of proper County oversight of Mountain Sewer.

The word is the Weber County Commissioners did not meet for almost 5 years regarding Mountain Sewer. No wonder Mountain Sewer did just about as they pleased and failed to collect all the money for their operation.

Any public utility must have oversight. The public usually cannot go elsewhere for the service the utility does provide. Abuses such as those by Mountain Sewer thrive when there is little or no oversight by a body politic.

Vic Wertz said...

Mr. Wizard, the bigger question is why do we keep electing these bozo Commissioners?? They have botched several appointments to the Ogden Valley Planning Commission that resulted in conflicts of Interest, changing the nominee in mid stream due to poor investigation of his background, and the worst, appointing a man that was a convicted federal felon.

Now we find out that they were incapable of oversight on a small sewer company in Ogden Valley for years.

These things happen because they are given a blank check every election by the voters.

It is time to take a good look next election.

king said...

It seems to me that Weber County only acts if threatened to be sued (i.e. developer threats, etc.).
I think its high time all valley residents contributed to form and hire a pro bono legal firm to counter these developer legal threats; it may be the only way to get the attention of the county and get some developers to back off, me thinks...

Hopeful in Harrisville said...

Anybody look to see which commission candidates that Catenzaro gave donations? Not Drew. Not T.R. but yes to Zogs. Surprised!