First, from Ron Gleason
Had approximately 100 people attend the meeting last night. Many good questions from the audience.
State is pushing hard for sewer system for Huntsville and South end of the valley. They are convinced, with no empirical evidence, that removal of septic tanks will help protect the quality of the water in Pineview and the ground water in this end of the valley.
Grants and loans are being dangles as carrots; $3.8 million for a grant and $10.2 million loan at 0% for 30 years.
The state is painting the picture that this will be the cheapest option homeowners will ever see; $58 per month versus an amount up to $120 a month if we are forced to do something in the future with bond money.
The town of Huntsville City Council and Weber County Commissioners are taking input. The town will accept input till May 26th and vote on whether to move forward June 2nd. The county is vague on their process.
Time to formulate your stance and let your public officials know where you stand.
In response, Valley Advocate had this to say,
Some of us in attendance last night In Huntsville were struck by the lack of leadership from our State and County officials.
We elect our County and State leaders to make hard decisions on difficult issues. Instead, what we heard were vague references on what might happen down the road if we don't do anything about the pollution that is affecting Pineview reservoir. While it is important to canvass the affected public on their views on Pineview pollution, it is incumbent on the leaders of the County and State to act based on their best information since they are the experts. If we leave the decision to residents about costs and possible explosive growth if we put in a good sewer system, (all valid concerns) we may miss the opportunity to address what may prove to be a serious threat to our lifestyle in the Valley.
At some point, acting in a definitive manner about the pollution of Pineview reservoir WON'T be an option if the pollution continues at the present pace. When that happens, draconian measures may be imposed on Ogden Valley residents to try and save the body of water that means so much to Ogden Valley and Weber County.
As we see in Washington DC, it is very easy to kick the can down the road and let someone else fix the problem. Consider this, would the State water people be examining our reservoir if there was nothing to worry about? There are clear indications that unless action is taken on the pollution of Pineview, we face some serious consequences in future.
Now we turn it over to our Ogden Valley Faithful. What say ye?
Sewer Public Hearing Comments 4/20/2011
By Steve Clarke
1. Bottom Line
a. The Positives: This very valuable study provides education for Valley residents on wastewater treatment alternatives. It will help us make informed choices. Thank you. (One can only wish more residents studied the proposal.)
b. The State DWQ offer to help fund implementation is a powerful carrot.
c. We have time to learn more about water quality issues in Pineview and address the problems.
d. The Negatives: We must not let the Trojan horse of sewer destroy the General Plan goal of preserving the rural atmosphere and promoting open space. We must choose sewer implementation that moves us toward the goal, not away from it. Zoning is driven by the presence of sewer, not the other way around. Small lots are inevitable next to sewer lines.
e. The type of system chosen must not be dictated by purchase price, but by life-cycle costs. This study distorts life cycle costs because the funding process is designed to favor lowest initial cost.
f. We should find a way to pay for a system that meets WATER QUALITY, COST, and LAND USE PLANNING goals. The level of treatment is a matter for the experts, the State DWQ among them. The state is not the only option to pay for systems we need. For example the County could bond for a system. All of us need to be involved in Land Use Planning.
g. The Conclusion: YES we should have sewer for our highest density areas (Huntsville is one of those) implemented in a way that doesn’t set the stage for unbridled growth. We should be looking at multiple “micro plants” each to serve a high density node. It may be that Huntsville could be invited to be served by a County financed and run system.
2. The VISION
a. Sewer Districts – We already have 17 sewer districts in the Valley, Wolf Creek is the largest and almost all others are very small. The most cost effective plan would have a single sewer district in the Valley, optimizing technology, policies, planning, training, operations, maintenance, accounting and billing, testing, and reporting. Existing districts should be encouraged to join a single district. The Wolf Creek District has recently been tasked by the State to serve the entire North Fork drainage. The idea of expanding that district to serve all of us on the Valley floor should at least be investigated.
b. Technology – Wolf Creek uses a Biological Membrane system called an MBR. It is very effective in removing pollutants but more expensive to operate than most other systems. It was chosen for its quality and compatibility with the Valley plan; it is housed in a barn-like structure. It is built for expansion. The three most recent smaller systems are Orenco AdvanTex systems which use a fiber filter technology. One serves up to 100 homes, one serves 26 homes and one serves the new Valley Elementary school. This technology is scalable and in my opinion should be considered very carefully.
c. Rural Atmosphere – Traditionally Valley growth has been focused in Huntsville, Eden, and Liberty. The Wolf Creek Resort is a center of growth, the Powder Mountain Plan and the Snow Basin Plan will create dense centers of growth as well. Our General Plan predicts a total of 7 resorts might eventually be located in our township. The Plan estimates that eventually we might have 40,000 people instead of the 6,000 we have now. To preserve the rural atmosphere the plan calls for high density development in villages which may be coincident with the resorts (like Wolf Creek), or separate, like Huntsville and Eden. As many long views and as much open space and wildlife as possible would be preserved while preserving individual property rights.
d. Sewer in the General Plan – In the Recommended Policies Section of the Recreation Element – “Weber County would encourage development of limited capacity sewer systems to serve the projected demand for each proposed village area. The investment reduces start-up capital costs required by developers. Sewer systems are limited to within a reasonable geographic area for each village development to reduce sewer pipe miles and reduce density speculation between villages.”
There are at least 6 other references to sewer planning in the General Plan that are consistent with the reduction of cost and preservation of the rural atmosphere.
e. Summary: Eventually a very high percentage of homes in the Valley will be served by sewer (est. >90%) while perhaps 20% of the acreage of the populated area would have trunk lines. All residents not on sewer would be part of the District and would have some level of inspection and services and would pay a minimal amount.
3. Tonight’s Decision
a. Huntsville Town should make its own decision as to whether this is the right time and plan for sewer. If and as Huntsville Town annexes additional property they can make a decision about serving that area with sewer.
b. Weber County should redouble planning efforts to create a long range plan for sewer which accomplishes the goals of the General Plan. Since the Plan was updated last with the Recreation Element in 2005 it is likely some amount of refresh is needed and that should occur quickly so a prospective sewer district could do effective planning.
c. Water Quality studies should continue to more accurately attribute pollution to its sources.