The Stansbury Park Improvement District and Tooele County approved an agreement that would establish the special service district as the regional wastewater provider during meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The decision comes on the heels of a study on the regionalization of wastewater collection in northern Tooele Valley, which came out earlier this month. The study recommended septic tanks only be used on lots of five acres or more, as Tooele Valley approaches capacity for tanks.
In the agreement, the impact on Erda’s water supply from an oversaturation of septic systems is mentioned as a reason for the agreement with SPID. It also mentions the potential contamination of wells and water supplies in both Erda and Stansbury Park.
“Therefore, in the interest of the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Erda and Stansbury Park, the county has determined that it is necessary to provide for sanitary wastewater treatments service in the threatened area,” the agreement said.
While it was not part of the discussion during Tuesday’s meeting with SPID, the agreement includes providing sewer to the county’s Deseret Peak Complex and Utah Motorsports Campus as reason for the regional sewer network. The agreement said using SPID’s resources would allow sewer lines to be gravity-fed, saving on power costs to use Grantsville City’s wastewater treatment facilities, which would require lift stations.
When Grantsville City annexed Deseret Peak and the then-Miller Motorsports Park in 2014, the city and county entered an agreement to provide water and future sewer service to the facilities. The county paid Grantsville $280,000 to construct a sewer line to connect Deseret Peak and UMC to the municipal sewer system, which has never been used.
Tooele County Commissioner Myron Bateman focused on the environmental reasoning behind SPID managing the regional sewer system, citing the need for higher density housing. The agreement requires any building within 300 feet of the sewer line must connect to the system.
“I think we have to push for what’s going to be best for the environment and the best for the environment, everything has to be hooked to a sewer line in the Erda area,” he said.
Bateman said he would support developers looking to put in housing on 1/3 acres lots in Erda, to make sewer lines more feasible and add users to the system. SPID board member Tom Parker said the current zoning does not allow for lots smaller than one acre and to expect pushback on higher density housing in the Erda area.
“You’re going to have a battle on your hands when you get to that point,” Parker said. “And I understand where you’re coming from, because I agree with you, but not everyone else around is going to agree with that. Especially people who live in Erda that are used to a rural atmosphere and they don’t want to see houses on 1/3 acre lots.”
The SPID board expressed qualms about dealing with a potential mechanical sewer plant as the system grows with new users.
“We are good for quite some time with the type of plant we have, the type of sewage system we have,” Parker said. “But then you put that much more on top of it that much sooner, that gets us to the point where whatever the government does, we’re going to be into a mechanical plant, which is going to be a major effect on the people of Stansbury.”
Tooele County Commissioner Shawn Milne suggested a weighted impact fee could be established if a treatment plant is constructed that would affect new users of the expanded district as opposed to the current users of SPID. Milne said any increased fees for developers would not deter development in the area due to the low cost of living.
“It could be factored in that there’s a weight that needs to be taken into consideration for the impact fee to be very different for those outside of your current area or even what you were thinking your area would otherwise be, even relative to, say, someone on the west side by Village Boulevard,” Milne said.
The board unanimously approved the agreement after more than an hour of discussion. The county later approved the agreement during a special meeting on Wednesday at 2 p.m.
The board also approved an agreement to construct a culinary water line to connect with the West Erda Improvement District. The agreement assigned SPID as the municipal water supplier to WEID and required the district assume the $1.9 million loan obligation of the culinary water line into the community.
The loan amount was amended from $1.6 million to meet the fire flow capacity requirements of the LDS Church between Bates Canyon Road and Erda Way on 1200 West.