East Carbon explores options to fund sewer lagoon project
Constructed in 1978, the sewer lagoons serving East Carbon and Sunnyside are starting to fail.
Engineers who have been working with East Carbon City to remedy the situation indicate that the lagoons need to be rebuilt in the next year.
"They would like to see us apply for funding from the (Utah) Community Impact Board as soon as we can," said Mayor Dale Andrews said during the regular East Carbon City Council meeting last Tuesday. "As far as they are concerned, we need to do that in the first trimester of next year or the project will not be built next summer. They feel that timetable is important."
According to Andrews, the city needs to get the applications for the estimated $1,650,000 needed for the project ready by early December to get the funding request filed with the Utah Community Impact Board in time to start construction in August 2005.
"I have met with the state division of environmental quality and the feasibility studies are not complete yet, but we need to move ahead," said Andrews.
Some of the money may come to the city in the form of grants, but at least a portion of the funding will likely be in low interest loans the town must pay back. The situation puts East Carbon in the position of having to raise sewer rates to make the payments to the CIB.
"There is no way out of doing this project," pointed out Councilman Dave Maggio. "This upgrade on the sewer system must be done. Right now, I believe we have the lowest sewer rates in the state at $5.50 per month. From my information, the state average for sewer district charges is $28."
How much sewer rates in the city could go up depends on the amount of money East Carbon must borrow and at what interest rate.
During the discussion, Councilman Joe Manley said East Carbon residents would not have to absorb the entire cost of the project.
"Sunnyside will be responsible for 31 percent of the cost," pointed out Manley.
At present, the clay lining on at least one of the ponds is leaking. While no pollutants have shown up in ground water below the site at the East Carbon Development Corporation test wells, it could become a problem if the ponds are not revamped, explained the mayor.
"The ponds work by evaporation, but right now much of the water is going right into the ground," said Andrews.
The work on the lagoons will keep the water from seeping into the ground and reduce the odor coming from the operation. At present, there are three lagoons or cells at the facility.
Engineers have set preliminary plans to do different types of work in each cell.
In cell one, the engineers plan to deepen the lagoon to hold 5.45 feet rather than four feet of water. The depth will be increased by raising the embankment around the cell by almost two feet. The project includes excavating one-half of a foot of old clay from the cell and putting in a new one-foot thick liner. The control structure will also be upgraded in the cell.
Cell two will include similar work. But first, work crews will remove the rooted bushes currently growing in the lagoon. Then, the old liner will be removed and replaced with a foot of clay. The cell will have the dikes raised 2.5 feet so the lagoon can hold a maximum of six feet of water as opposed to four feet. The control structure in that cell will also be upgraded.
Cell three will be a simpler operation, according to the city officials. Construction crews will remove the brush that has grown in the lagoon and re-compact the existing pond bottom liner.
In addition to the sewer lagoon upgrade project, the East Carbon mayor and council addressed an unrelated concern about money at Tuesday's meeting.
The officials discussed the fact that the county had not sent the money to the city for the police department.
Earlier in the year, an agreement was reached regarding law enforcement coverage between the county, East Carbon and Sunnyside. The county agreed to pay East Carbon for providing coverage in unincorporated areas, while Sunnyside agreed to pay East Carbon to handle the town's law enforcement needs. At one point, Sunnyside created a police force and only used East Carbon as a backup. However, the force did not provide 24-hour service and East Carbon police or the county sheriff's office had to respond when Sunnyside's officers were not on duty.
At Tuesday's meeting, East Carbon officials noted that Sunnyside has not paid the town's share of the agreed upon money, either.
In an unrelated action, the council also decided not to designate parking for large trucks in the community at this time. Presently some truckers are parking trailers in front of the old Dragerton Shopping Center and the council felt that could continue until businesses are actually placed in the buildings and then they will consider what to do.