City and county clash over contaminated soil
March 27, 2012
Park City and Summit County are at odds over what to do with the contaminated soil left over from the area’s mining days. The County Courthouse is calling Park City’s proposed location for a new toxic soil repository unsuitable and said it may hamper future development.
When Summit County obtained permission from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to dispose of the contaminated soil removed from Silver Creek at Richardson Flat, Park City had to find somewhere else to put the soil they removed from the upper stretch of the creek, which runs from Park City toward U.S. 40. Park City recently proposed placing the soil on the Pace property, a parcel of land owned by the city east of U.S. 40 near the entrance to Promontory.
On Wednesday, Summit County Manager Bob Jasper announced that because of findings by the County’s planning and sustainability departments, he did not support Park City’s choice to use the Pace property as a soil depository.
"The parcel is surrounded by unincorporated county land and soon, the newly approved Silver Creek Village development with over 1,000 houses will be right next door," Jasper said. "We consider that area a potential residential growth area and do not think it should have contaminated soil placed on it right now."
Park City also has suggested using the Triangle Parcel, a piece of land owned jointly by the city and county located near Quinn’s Junction, as a repository. Jasper said he was not thrilled by that idea either because he did not want to preclude future development on that parcel.
Park City Manager Tom Bakaly said the issue is being driven by the EPA and before a location for a second repository is established the area would go through a strict environmental assessment.
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"Overall, the City Council wants to take a comprehensive look into low-cost alternatives that will work in the future," he said. "The need for a second repository isn’t just a city problem. We are at disagreement with the county over whether Richardson Flat even has enough capacity to hold their soil. The second repository would benefit everyone."
Council member Chris Robinson said it was important that the county work closely with the city to find a "win-win" for both parties.
"Expanding Richardson Flat is an option, but it would be difficult. I am not sure if at the end of the day that is a workable option," he said. "We need to find a solution that will work for everyone and not take any option off the table in case it is needed in the future."
Sally Elliott agreed, adding that Summit County and Park City should decide what they want to use the Triangle Parcel for first so that it is not wasted.
"We need to identify what our goals for the Triangle Parcel are and a need that works for the city and county," Elliott said. "After seeing the Pace property, I am not strongly opposed to using that as a short term repository. People can live on top of the old repositories. I do and my garden is lovely."
Jasper said that expanding Richardson Flat is an expensive and complicated option since the land is owned by Talisker.
"I strongly believe that Park City needs to find an affordable place for their contaminated soil," Jasper said. "I just think the Pace property is the wrong location and am hoping we can find another solution."