Fairview approves plan to transfer water from treatment plant to city cemetery
By Rhett Wilkinson
FAIRVIEW—The Fairview City Council decided last week to get infrastructure in place so it can use water from is microfiltration sewage treatment plant to irrigate the city cemetery.
The council voted unanimously to seek $3.03 million in the form of grants and loans from the Utah Community Impact Board (CIB), the Utah Department of Environmental Quality and USDA Rural Development.
The funds will be used to extend pipes, build a holding tank and put in a lift station to pump the water up to the cemetery, which is at higher elevation than the treatment plant.
“Just do it,” a member of the public said during a public hearing on the matter that preceded the vote.
The motivation for putting in the system to get the water from the treatment plant, located on U.S. 89 about a mile south of the city limits, to the cemetery in the northwest corner of the city, goes beyond reducing the costs of watering the cemetery.
Fairview has been sending water from the plant into the Sanpitch River. Although the plant uses high-tech filters that take most of the pollutants out of the waste water, the water now going into the Sanpitch is not clean enough to meet EPA standards.
Mayor Cliff Wheeler said the city must either channel water coming out of the plant somewhere other than the river—or it use chemicals to bring down the phosphorus levels in the water.
Chemical treatment has to be precise and is expensive, Wheeler said.
In January, 2020, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality issued a special pollutant discharge permit to Fairview that runs until Dec. 31, 2023.
If a city or other entity, such as an industrial plant, doesn’t have a special permit and unknowingly discharges water that does not meet EPA standards into a river, the city or entity can be fined $10,000 per day.
If the city knows the water does not meet the standards—and Fairview knows water from its treatment plant does not—the fine is $25,000 per day.
“We can’t afford $25,000 a day,” Wheeler told the city council.
Earlier the city looked at using the water from the treatment plan on its Sports Park, which is downhill from the plant. Such a strategy would be less expensive than getting water to the cemetery. But the city found out runoff from the Sports Park could flow into a wetland. So the city was forced to abandon that idea.
In other action at the meeting, after reviewing a traffic study, the council asked Councilman Matt Sorensen and Police Chief Steve Gray to come back with a plan for where traffic signs should be placed in town.
Regarding COVID-19, Councilman Brad Welch said that a July 24 celebration in town should continue.
“[It would be] pretty foolish to cancel it at this point,” he said. “At least, this is my recommendation and then we’ll keep visiting it every month to see the status change.”
COVID-19 vaccinations are expected to be administered in the state of Utah by June, and “we’re at the end of July,” Welch said, referring to the July 24 festivities.
“At this point, I’d like to leave all of the events on the table for now,” he said.
Welch said he would have information on advertising the July 24 celebrations in the next council meeting.
Wheeler said the council needs to make a decision about whether to move forward with annexing land into the city, if at all. Welch talked about getting a resolution on the matter ready for next month’s meeting, although the council would not necessarily needing to adopt it then.