Silver Creek Sewer Assessment District is created
Construction is scheduled to be complete in September
For several years, Summit County Health Department officials suspected there were septic system failures occurring in the commercial area of the lower Silver Creek neighborhood near the Interstate 80 and U.S. 40 junction.
Earlier this year, Summit County Health Department Director Rich Bullough urged the Summit County Council to consider forming a voluntary assessment area or issue a building moratorium. He said Silver Creek and East Canyon Creek had been identified as critically impaired waters, adding “they are very important tributaries of the Weber River providing drinking water to 600,000 people in the Wasatch Front.”
“Most of those buildings were built a long time ago when septic was approved because it wasn’t an option to get sewer to that area,” Bullough said. “But, when Woodside homes came in and requested septic permits about four years ago we denied those permits because of the high groundwater and history of failure in the area. They chose, instead, to run sewer and all of a sudden that gave us the option of extending sewer beyond those homes.”
As a result, a voluntary assessment district was recently formed, Bullough said, with the help of the Utah Division of Drinking Water (DDW), the Summit County Council and property owners in lower Silver Creek.
“It’s an expensive project — roughly $1 million dollars – and we wondered if we could finance a bond, but I ultimately ended up going to the state water board and requested a loan and amazingly they gave us a zero percent interest loan,” Bullough said. “They really bent over backwards to help us get this done.”
Bullough said 22 property owners, commercial and residential homeowners, agreed to sign waivers to join the voluntary assessment district.
“Ultimately, the County Council took a gamble when they formed this assessment area with just 19 waivers signed, knowing they would need about 24 to pay for the project. But they agreed to pick up the balloon payment at the end of the 20 years and we have since picked up three more property owners,” he said.
Property owners agreed to pay $1,760 as an annual assessment for 20 years to pay for the project. However, as more properties are developed, officials hope that the 20-year term will be reduced.
“We are already hearing from potential developers who are looking at projects in the area and I suspect we will see more and more come online,” Bullough said. “We hope that 20 years is significantly reduced to about 15 years.”
Construction to install the sewer lines began on July 17 and the expected completion date is September 17. The lines will only extend to properties in the lower commercial area of Silver Creek.
“If development is to occur within 300 feet of this new line, they will have to hook up to it. That is part of the state law,” Bullough said. “By bringing sewer to this lower part of Silver Creek, the homes higher up on the hill may, at some point in the future, have the potential to have sewer run to them as well.”
Bullough said he walked around the construction site earlier this week and, personally, felt a “huge amount of satisfaction.”
“This wouldn’t have happened without a whole bunch of people doing the work and without the property owners saying, ‘We want this’ because they are the ones who are paying for it,” he said. “We have a very important water source over there and we have just taken a significant step to not just maintain the water quality, but improve it.”
To view the ordinance, go to http://summitcounty.org/DocumentCenter/View/6576.
Meredith Reed was elected to a two-year term as chair of the Summit County Democratic Party and said she sees an opportunity to ride the so-called blue wave that saw a Democratic surge nationally and within the state.