Q 1. Is HVSSD condemning 200 acres for more sewer ponds and the discharge of hazardous water?
ANSWER:The 200 acres that received a HVSSD proposed eminent domain notice would remain as farmland. Effluent water is already used on the 375 acres currently farmed by HVSSD. This water is treated, tested, and safe for farming techniques used by HVSSD which meets State and EPA standards. The proposed land is adjacent to the existing facility and is needed to increase disposal capacity.
The proposed farmland considered under eminent domain will increase HVSSD’s disposal capacity by growing more crops with treated effluent water and providing winter storage as explained in the ‘Quick Facts’ at this website.
Q 2. Will there be an expansion of sewer lagoons in Midway?
ANSWER: No,HVSSD is not proposing to expand any existing lagoons. The HVSSD sewer plant is also actually in the County, but it does border Midway.
The EPA approved the current location in 1978 when it was built. Since then Midway grew much closer.
Q 3. Are sewer ponds (Lagoons) outdated?
ANSWER: No,even though wastewater lagoons have been used for thousands of years, they are operationally the most economical and lowest carbon footprint technology for wastewater treatment.
Lagoon infrastructure has the longest life expectancy and the lowest depreciation costs. Lagoons are the most tried and proven process for wastewater treatment. They allow HVSSD to continue its low sewer rates.
Q 4. If sewer ponds are so great why aren’t they in every city?
ANSWER: High population cities usually don’t have available land to build Lagoons needed for their density.
Yet 63% of municipal wastewater systems in Utah use lagoons/wastewater ponds.
Q 5. Every Community along the Wasatch Front has gone to a mechanical plant…Most recently was the Timpanogos district; why not here?
ANSWER: The Timpanogos Special Service District (TSSD) in Utah County has used a Mechanical Plant since it started back in 1977.
The reality is that in Utah 63% of municipal wastewater systems in Utah use lagoons/wastewater ponds.
HVSSD did install a Mechanical Plant in 2012 to increase total treatment capacity. However, the proposed farmland considered for eminent domain is needed for disposal capacity--not treatment capacity.
HVSSD can dispose of effluent water at the lowest cost to ratepayers by acquiring more farmland. Using farmland also preserves the rural quality of our Valley, our viewsheds, and our agricultural heritage.
Q 6. Why not move the sewer plant to Heber?
ANSWER: Let’s consider all of the costs for moving the current Plant:-Costs of expensive and extensive engineering, EPA, & other environmental studies;-Costs of the engineering design of a new Mechanical Plant;-Costs and time of getting the State of Utah and EPA approvals and permits;-Cost of buying new land for the Plant & new land for winter storage ponds to replace existing ones;-Costs of actually building a new Mechanical Plant with the same capacity (already built at HVSSD);-Costs of more staff & more yearly O & M costs to run a much larger Mechanical Plant (to replace the existing wastewater lagoons);-Costs of new collection system piping to any new Plant;-Costs of actually pumping sewage from Midway, etc., to any new Plant;**All of these costs would result in dramatically higher impact fees and sewer rates to HVSSD ratepayers.**Even with a new Plant, HVSSD will still need to dispose of its treated wastewater effluent. HVSSD still needs to increase its disposal capacity by acquiring more farmland--whether by keeping the existing Plant or building a new Plant with all of these exorbitant costs. -The numbers posted by others on facebook of $38 million or $60 million do not come close to all of these costs. An official study would need to be completed for all of these costs (which is another cost to HVSSD ratepayers). BOTTOM LINE: It costs LESS money to HVSSD ratepayers to use all of the current Plant’s treatment capacity and acquire additional farmland for disposal capacity.
Q 7. A published study by BYU in 2014 claims that there is seepage from Midway Sewer Lagoons into the Provo River.
Answer: This study is a master’s thesis done by a BYU student in 2014. This thesis was not reviewed or accepted by the State of Utah’s Division of Water Quality or EPA.
HVSSD Lagoons were designed to and are in compliance with state and federal regulations.
Q 8. Is the sewer district planning to spend $38 million to condemn land through eminent domain?
Answer:No, the $38 million was a preliminary estimate from a draft report discussed in the HVSSD Board mtg.
That draft report included other costs for projected operations and maintenance, projected farm maintenance needs, different lab proposals, as well as projected land costs for disposal capacity needs.
The $38 million figure was not approved by HVSSD at that board meeting, and still hasn’t been approved.
Q 9. Is a mechanical plant the logical way forward for HVSSD? What has the district done about looking into this?
ANSWER: HVSSD did build a mechanical plant in 2012 to expand its treatment capacity. Yet at the time HVSSD did not expand its disposal capacity. Now it needs to.
With growth in the Valley, HVSSD needs to increase its disposal capacity by buying more farmland and building more winter storage.
This increased farmland for effluent disposal should match the existing HVSSD treatment capacity from the existing Mechanical Plant and wastewater lagoons.
Q 10. If HVSSD ever goes to only a mechanical plant will odors stop?
ANSWER: No, as long as humans emit odors in the bathroom then both mechanical plants and lagoons will emit odors.
Whether HVSSD uses lagoons or a mechanical plant there are odors in wastewater treatment.
HVSSD is committed to keeping any odors to a minimum. In spring of 2020 we experienced a very rare upset due to some much needed repairs. With these repairs completed the odors have been minimized, and further corrective actions are in place.
Q 11. Can the JSSD (Jordanelle Special Service District) take some of the sewage coming to the current plant?
ANSWER: No. Up until August 2020 JSSD was sending their sewage to HVSSD for treatment. The JSSD mechanical plant is designed for a 1 MGD (million gallons per day) capacity; whereas HVSSD’s capacity is designed for four times that. Consider the costs of pumping that much HVSSD sewage to JSSD, as well as the additional costs for the JSSD to expand and treat it based on Question #6 above.JSSD connection fees, sewer rates, & impact fees would dramatically increase higher than the current HVSSD rates because JSSD would need to take on all of the costs listed in Question #6.
Q 12. Why can’t the ponds be made to look like natural ponds rather than rectangular man-made ponds?
ANSWER:Lagoons must meet certain size/design standards per state regulations. HVSSD met those requirements when originally building them.
Any new Lagoons could be shaped somewhat differently, yet HVSSD is not proposing to build any new lagoons.
At this point HVSSD needs more farmland to increase disposal capacity and match the existing treatment capacity.