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County planning, zoning looks to finalize Pleasant Valley Plan

Sun Advocate reporter

The County Planning and Zoning Board has made some progress on the Pleasant Valley General Plan around Scofield by setting a formal date for it to be recommended to the County Commission. While the plan will be up for recommendation in January, some outstanding issues are still being considered which could affect how matters such as water quality and residential classifications are addressed.

Water quality remains an ongoing consideration. While, in the past, water studies have been conducted around the Scofield area, County Planning Director, Dave Levanger presented the board with an extensive new study which will involve both the state of Utah and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Funding is not yet secured for the new study, but, Levanger indicated that he believes it is in the best interest of the area.

"The issue around here is; are we polluting Scofield with septic tanks? What will help us answer this, is a study of the ground water, along with (the area's) water records and past samples. With the samples and records, we can establish a baseline and come up with a formula for the ground types and amount of septic systems (to be installed) in an area," said Levanger.

As far as mountain homes near the reservoir, Levanger indicated that he does not believe their septic systems pose any contamination threat.

However, many other contamination sources are closer to the lake's shores, including livestock near the south end, an issue which board member Mike Milovich addressed.

"We've done this study before. Will they (livestock and previous studies) be included? My sense is that the livestock is a bigger contributor (to contamination) than the septic systems," said Milovich.

In total, there are 21 small culinary wells in the area with numerous other larger wells and the Scofield water system, according to Levanger. However, the largest contaminator of the lake is the land itself, which adds phosphorus. The study, if conducted, will likely involve other agencies, because the lake provides water to the entire county and, thus, wells in Helper and Price would need to be examined. Funding is still the key question.

"We need to maintain or improve the water quality in that reservoir," said Bruce Parker, who presented the plan.

In other business, the board reviewed and made a few additions to the county's natural resource use and management plan as a part of the county's master plan. The plan will be reviewed again after it has been cleaned up and clarified. Most of the issues were in regards to legal definitions of trails, right of ways and involvement of the federal government when comes to the county's plans.

Finally, the board reviewed a telephone study conducted in part by the Price River Enhancement Group, who interviewed 233 people about water quality and found that 80 percent of people don't think they have any personal responsibility for water quality.

Concern was expressed about the lack of concern, but the full survey has yet to be reviewed.

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