Summit County Health Department hopes water study results will guide development
County hopes to apply lessons about failed systems county wide
Phil Bondurant, director of Environmental Health with the Summit County Health Department, says he hopes the results of a two-year water quality study will help guide future development on both sides of the county.
Earlier this year, the Health Department released its findings from the Summit County Water Quality and Septic Density Study. Bondurant is scheduled to present the results to the County Council today, Wednesday, at 4 p.m. at the County Courthouse in Coalville.
Bondurant said the study assessed the connection between the distribution and density of wastewater systems and water quality. According to a staff report, the purpose of the study was to identify specific subdivisions within the county that should be considered for sewer or limited to advanced septic systems.
We want to use that information to create a map with these zones where we say septic is allowed in this area or isnt, or an advanced system is required, Bondurant said. Thats to create clarity for homebuilders and homebuyers.
What we are trying to accomplish is take what we have learned from the West Side and apply it to the East Side, he said.
Bondurant said a considerable amount of time has been spent repairing old or failing septic systems on the West Side of the county. He added, That is the reason we have been such advocates and really pursuing the idea of getting sewer to Silver Creek.
Thats where we have been with everything on the East Side. It appears we are being hyper-aggressive and trying to limit development, but actually its the exact opposite, Bondurant said. We are going to get out in front of this because we know it is coming so lets put some regulations in place.
The study found a portion of the county is not equipped to handle septic development, however, other areas are. Bondurant said the waterways from East Canyon Creek are impaired, in part, because of septic systems.
So we have started toward running sewer to Silver Creek and we have other areas that need it, but these are multi-million projects, Bondurant said. The resident is in a very tough spot because they hear rumors circulating that we are going to make them sign up for sewer and thats not true. They are caught between a rock and a hard place.
Concerns about the availability of sewer and similar infrastructure have been raised recently as the County Council is considering amendments to the Eastern Summit County Development Code.
Officials have said the amendments would create several new zones and provide property owners with more flexibility and development opportunities. However, residents claim certain areas are not capable of handling increased density because of the lack of sewer infrastructure. The County Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the amendments today, Wednesday, at 6 p.m. in the County Courthouse.
We are not saying dont increase density. We are saying it should be done as long as there is infrastructure there, Bondurant said. We dont want to continue to fight the same battle we have been fighting on the West Side on the East Side.
We want to be able to ensure that the sewer water is being handled in the best possible way, he said.
To view the county staff report prepared for the meeting, go to http://summitcounty.org/DocumentCenter/View/4703. To view the results of the water quality study go to, http://www.summitcountyhealth.org/environmental-health/septic-analysis-2016/
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