In the news recently, Millville City had plans to tap into a natural spring for water storage in the winter time. That plan has hit a roadblock, of sorts, because of nitrates found in water sources. Because of that, the plan has been put on hold and the city may have to come up with potentially millions of dollars to tap into the valley sewer system to move ahead with water storage plans.
Related to this, a moratorium has gone into effect for any future building. Involved in all of this is the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, the city and residents – who will have a chance to weigh in soon – and also the Bear River Health Department. On KVNU’s For the People program on Tuesday, department Environmental Health Scientist Richard Worley was our guest. He said the fear has been that the problem could spread to other water systems.
“In that process, they found that they might be influencing Providence City’s well and by doing this aquifer storage, the nitrate levels were kind of erratic,” Worley explained. “In fact, there was some concern that if they continued to do this, that maybe it might affect some of the other water systems, and it didn’t really show that the nitrates were being diluted like they thought that it would.”
Worley said the Health Department was contacted and they talked with the state who was concerned about the nitrate level continuing to rise in the city wells.
“We took this to the board of health, and to our health officer, and said we permit (septic) systems in Millville, and we know that some of the nitrates are coming from septic systems. So, we went to the board and said, ‘what should we do about this because if we continue to permit these systems, there’s a potential that that well could exceed the safe drinking water limit, which would severely impact their water system?’”
He said it was a collaborative effort with both mayors of Providence and Millville to do a moratorium on new building, to stop issuing permits in Millville and in the meantime work on getting a sewer system installed. They did allow about 20 septic systems in construction that had already started.
AUDIO: Richard Worley talks to Jason Williams of For the People