State water quality reduces citation level
Fines imposed by Utah Division of Water Quality on the Price River Water Improvement District due to the sewage leak last year were not reduced, but the citation will be noted as a Category B violation instead of a major violation.it was noted at the PRWID board meeting on Feb. 2.
Kim Kelley, with UDWQ, stated that no new information warranting a decrease in fine amount was brought forward by PRWID. According to state law, PRWID cannot directly benefit from the fines paid. With that in mind, PRWID must decide whether to try and have the money go toward projects in the immediate area, or just cut a check to the state.
The EPA also fined PRWID, but that penalty was much smaller than the state assessment. A payment option was declined, but the district will be able to pay half this year and half next year, as long as the remainder is received in the first quarter of the year.
In other business PRWID's water share leasing is expected to increase this year, from 1,500 to 1,700 shares. Currently, PRWID holds 3,180 shares, with 200 coming from Helper for one more year and 334 from Wellington, putting the total at 3,714. A plan was also discussed by the board to start buying new shares as they become available, budget permitting.
"It would be wise to purchase water shares, so the district can provide water during years of drought," said Keith Cox the board's president.
An initial board goal several years ago was to further the amount of controlled shares. All water suppliers in the area are watching water usage more closely in an effort to prevent over-usage and waste. Water shares come into play when structures that will be hooked up to the PRWID system are constructed in the county. Builders are required to purchase a share or pay an in-lieu-of fee when they hook up.
Jeff Richens, PRWID district manager, posed a question as to whether or not the district should use the in-lieu-of fees to purchase additional shares. The board said they will decide next time they meet.
Snotel reports from the water shed affecting PRWID currently list levels in the mountains between 74-75 percent of normal so far this year. Those regions include Mammoth Cottonwood and White River No. 1.
PRWID will need to hire some financial advisors next year, as the district prepares to have an impact study conducted. This study is completed every six years. Engineering firms are also being considered for the study as well. Richens proposed that whoever the board chooses, he recommends that PRWID stick with that firm for several years to further a working relationship between the agency and the vendor(s).
The Utah State Auditor's office sent a letter stating that PRWID is in compliance with state regulations, but that it is also in a deficit. An amount of $186,000 will be put toward the discrepancy from the general fund. The reason for this deficit is that the general fund had more money than it should have, so money is being transferred into appropriate fund to cover the shortfall.
The board also noted that a packet assembled for the Fausett Lane sewer project is ready for contractor use. Price City has made their concerns known about how the project should be handled. All of their requests are addressed in the packet. Price has an interest in the matter since the proposed construction will be done on city streets. Contractors will have access to this information at a cost of $25 a piece. The district has set aside $60,000 for the project, but the actual costs are expected to be less.
It was also noted during the meeting that Rocky Mountain Power has assisted in energy efficiency upgrades at some PRWID facilities. Thus far, they have been focusing on lighting fixtures and bulbs in four PRWID buildings. Along with being brighter, quieter and not having a noticeable flicker, the new lights are saving the district an average of $70 a month on their power bills.
Officers of the board were appointed during the meeting as well. Richard Tatton will continue as chairman and Keith Cox was selected to be vice chairman. The treasurer will once again be Kaye Cripps and Jaci Adams will continue her service as clerk.