West Erda will soon have access to a new $8.7 million sewer line served by the Stansbury Park Improvement District.
The Tooele County Commission approved a motion to authorize spending $8.7 million to build the sewer line from near SPID’s wastewater treatment plant north of state Route 138 to the property now owned by the Romney Group east of Utah Motorsports Campus. The new line will run parallel to Sheep Lane.
The approval came during a special County Commission meeting held Thursday at 1 p.m. in the Tooele County Building.
The installation of the sewer line came out of discussions with the Romney Group and Grantsville and Tooele cities on how best to bring sewer service to Romney’s Lakeview Business Park.
“While there are other less expensive solutions, the West Erda trunk line has two advantages,” said County Commissioner Myron Bateman. “It gives West Erda access to a sewer line to protect their groundwater and it will have lower operating costs because it will be all gravity fed.”
The cost to install the line will essentially be a loan from the County’s general fund balance, according to Bateman.
“Developers and other people that hook into the line will pay for it when they hook up with the fees they pay going back into the general fund. It will not be paid back by property taxes,” he said. “We’ve even included an interest rate of 2.5 percent when we calculated the E.R.U. cost — equivalent residential units — that will be used to determine connection fees.”
Bateman said current property owners in Erda won’t be required to hook up to the new sewer line as long as their septic tank system is working. If it fails, they will be required to hook up if their property is within 300 feet of a sewer line.
Using the County’s general fund instead of a bond will save the county about $2 million in interest, according to Bateman.
Bateman cited a 2018 study by the Hansen, Allen, and Luce engineering firm to support his position.
The HAL study, dated December 2018, estimates the initial cost of infrastructure for sewer service to the Romney property from Grantsville City to be $1.4 million, from Tooele City $1.9 million, and from SPID $5.7 million.
At build out for the Romney property, without any large water users at the business park, the gap in the sewer infrastructure costs closes somewhat with the build out cost for Grantsville City sewer service estimated at $11 million, Tooele City at $11.9 million, and SPID at $12.4 million, according to the study.
The initial cost for connecting to Grantsville is lower than other options because Grantsville already has infrastructure in place to serve Deseret Peak Complex, Utah Motorsports Campus, and the Purple Mattress manufacturing site. All three facilities are within Grantsville City limits.
The HAL study also states that if wastewater service to the Romney site is provided by a wastewater line conveying flows to SPID, the line could be sized to collect wastewater for the Romney site, as well as UMC, Deseret Peak Complex and the Erda area.
Tooele County and Grantsville City are currently fighting in court over the county’s request to “disconnect” or de-annex Deseret Peak Complex and UMC from Grantsville City.
“If local collector lines are then constructed to the Sheep Lane sewer line for existing and future Erda area development, the groundwater quality could be protected and possibly improved. This would protect private and public water supply wells,” reads the HAL study.
“The Grantsville connection, while less costly in the short term, would do nothing for the citizens of the county,” Bateman said.
But two Grantsville City officials disagreed with the County Commission’s sewer plan for West Erda.
“I think the expenditure list on the sewer may be somewhat ill conceived,” said Tom Tripp, Grantsville City Councilman and County Commissioner-elect. “You’re having the residents of Grantsville City, Tooele City, Lake Point, Stansbury Park Improvement District, and Stockton bearing the cost of the sewer when they’ve already paid for their own.”
SPID may have to unjustly bear the cost of future sewer and water projects, according to Grantsville Mayor Brent Marshall. Without a capital improvement plan all the residents of SPID may be on the hook when expansion of facilities are required, he said.
“Current residents of Erda that have no need of a sewer system may in the future be required to hook up and pay even higher sewer fees,” Marshall said. “Less expensive options have been offered to the county commissioners but were ignored in favor of more expensive projects.”
Bateman made a motion to go ahead with the sewer project. It was approved unanimously.
Eight bids were received for the West Erda sewer project. The lowest bid was for $8,699,835 from Newman Construction of Riverton. The highest bid was for $13,048,000. Five of the bids received were for under $9.5 million.
After reviewing the bids, Newman Construction, the lowest bidder, was selected, according to Bateman.