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Manti hears plan for ‘Citizens Corp’

to help with emergency response

 

By Suzanne Dean

Publisher

8-13-2020

MANTI—The Manti City Council was forewarned on the need to organize a citizens group to prepare for and respond to emergencies.

Russell Hatch, who moved from Salt Lake County to Manti about five years ago and was involved in the Mormon Miracle Pageant dinners, presented the plan to set up a Manti City Citizens Corp. at a council meeting last Thursday, Aug. 5.

At the same meeting, the council learned the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) had given final approval to Phase 2 of the city’s three-phase Wastewater Management Project.

That means the city can put the project out to bid this month and none too soon. Over the past year, the last of three cells in the city’s sewer lagoon has come close to overflowing, and the city has had to get an emergency discharge permit from DEQ to spread the water out over a nearby farm field (with the owner’s permission).

In a pamphlet distributed to the council, Hatch said COVID-19 had called attention to the need for residents to prepare for disasters of all types.

“In times of crisis, our community will need food, healing, security, a sense of belonging and other resources,” the pamphlet said. “We present ourselves as ready and willing to assist any other organization [church or government] as partners and willing participants.”

The pamphlet talked about dividing the city into quadrants, quadrants into “neighborhood areas” and neighborhood areas into blocks of six to 12 homes. The goal, Hatch said, would be to have a captain for each block who was affiliated with the citizen corps.

Block captains could help neighbors get to know each other, provide education on topics ranging from food storage to gardening, bring neighbors together to plan for disasters, and in an actual disaster, help coordinate recoveries.

Sheriff Brian Nielson, who was at the meeting, said citizen corps and a similar type of group known as Citizen Emergency Response Teams (CERT) are recognized by the Utah Division of Emergency Preparedness.

“Our state leads the nation in volunteerism, and this is an example of that,” he said.

Councilman Jason Vernon said, “This is something we ought to have if we have people who want to make it happen.”

To be legitimate, the citizen corps would need some form of official recognition from city government, Hatch said.

City Manager Kent Barton said the city would get back to Hatch regarding the request for recognition.

Regarding the sewer project, Manti has been working on its sewer lagoons, located north of the new softball complex, since 2012. The main objective of the work has been to expand sewer lagoon capacity without being forced to build new lagoons.

In Phase 1, the lagoons were deepened. In Phase 2, the lagoon levels will be managed by “land application” of treated water.

The project includes building a chlorination building on one corner of the lagoon property, building a quarter-mile pipeline along Cemetery Road to the north of the lagoon, and finally, installing a pivot sprinkler to spread lagoon water across 50 acres owned by the city. The pivot sprinkler will move across a quarter circle on the city land.

The three lagoon cells are constructed so that when the first cell fills, the excess runs into the second cell. When the second cell gets too full, water runs into the third cell.

City officials and the project engineer have said by the time water reaches the third cell, any solids have settled to the bottom and sunlight has helped kill any pathogens, so there is no danger of polluted water getting into the environment.

The project engineer has projected the land application phase will take care of the city’s needs for 15 years. After that, there is a potential of a third phase, which would be piping treated water to the Sanpitch River and getting permission to discharge into the river.

In other discussion, the council decided to move ahead with a public meeting on major revisions to the residential zoning ordinance. The residential changes follow passage of a new Main Street zoning ordinance earlier this year.

The city was about to hold an information and input session last spring when Utah went into lockdown for the new coronavirus.

“We had talked about waiting until we are green,” Mayor Korry Soper said. “That’s not coming as quickly as we’d hoped.”