GWSSA turns to county council for sewer plant approval
by Ron Georg, contributing writer
Sep 13, 2007 | 1798 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Members of the Grand Water and Sewer Service Agency board last week reported that San Juan County officials have agreed with plans to build a new sewer treatment facility to service Spanish Valley and large tracts of property in San Juan County. The board also said they will seek approval for the project from Grand County.

    The GWSSA is an independent agency, which means it doesn't need approval to act ‒ but the agency may need county support to secure funding.  

    "If we're going to go after [Utah Permanent Community Impact Fund Board] money, it's better to have them on board," GWSSA board president Dan Pyatt said.

    This comes after meetings with Moab city officials, who declined to participate in GWSSA plans to construct a new sewer facility, which would divert anticipated flow from the city plant.

    "I left that meeting with the pretty clear idea that the city's not interested in building a plant" GWSSA Manager Terry Sykes said. "We need to move on, and we need to get the commitment of the Grand County Council, so we need to formally request their backing of this project."

    GWSSA board members who met with city officials say the anticipated split is amicable. "It's not that they're unwilling to cooperate," board member John Hartley said. "The situation that they're in is that if they have to raise the rates for the citizens inside the city, then it's a non-starter for them. It's not a matter of us not being able to work something out with them, it's a matter of them being stuck in a position."

    Pyatt added that the city has no need for added capacity. "They've got a plant that'll go on basically forever, or as long as they can keep it up to compliance, so why would they want to spend $15 million, like we're being forced to do," he said.

    Before the GWSSA board acts to formally modify its arrangement with the city, they want to make sure all the entities are in agreement. "[City officials] are going to bring it to the [city] council, as a formality to make sure that that's how their governing body wants to act, and, of course, we will wait until that happens," GWSSA board vice-president Gary Wilson said.

    While the city's official position will come from the council, Moab City Engineer Dan Stenta did allow that there is some logic to the plans for a new plant, assuming the San Juan County build-out projection of as many as 8,000 new equivalent residential units holds true. "The city would become the minority users of the plant, while still being the owners, which might not work out for either entity," Stenta said.

    The city may be warming to the idea of losing the sewage flow from Spanish Valley, along with the income it brings, but Grand County's approval may not be automatic.

    "I know there are some council members that are looking at this a lot different than what we are," council member and GWSSA board member Jerry McNeely said.

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