Community and Project Support Essential to Move Regional Wastewater Project Forward
The 2 Forks Recreational Water and Sewer District has had an exciting year of progress with the potential regionalization of its wastewater system in the Valley. The sewer project will provide reliable wastewater treatment service to Terrace Lakes, the City of Crouch and to Garden Valley area residents.
“The project is at a “go-no-go” point in time and without overall community support, no project funding will be made available for construction,” Tim Farrell, P.E. stated, “The community must see the benefit of the project in order to move forward”.
The project will bring a centralized wastewater treatment system to the Valley and will eliminate many aging and failing septic systems. The project has enormous economic and environmental benefits to the region and has gained widespread support from local, county, state and national political entities and funding agencies.
Additionally, the District has received unprecedented State and Federal funding support to get this project off the ground! In August, the US Army Corps of Engineers awarded the District a $1.4 million grant for design and construction costs. This fall, with the support of Idaho County, the Idaho Department of Commerce awarded the District an additional $20,000 in grant funding to help get the required planning documents completed. This is all very exciting news for the Valley!
The District understands there are a number of questions that the public has and the District is working to complete a project master plan that will answer questions related to project costs, construction schedule, end user rates and project funding.
The wastewater treatment plant is sitting across the Payette River at South Fork Landing. This is a very large asset that could potentially be utilized by the entire valley, for the sustainable future, as a regional wastewater plant. There is an opportunity to utilize the existing treatment plant to benefit the entire community and to minimize new septic systems as the valley grows.
“Replacing aging infrastructure or building new facilities will provide rural Idaho communities with exciting new opportunities”, Farrell explained in a past presentation. He added, “There has never been such a need for rural Idaho to reinvest in their communities at the same time receiving federal and state funding assistance to make these projects affordable”.
Why do we need it and what are the benefits? Multiple reasons: There are current community and regulatory concerns about the aging and failing of existing septic tanks. Groundwater contamination will increase as existing septic systems fail and new systems are brought on line. There are increasing levels of nitrates in the shallow groundwater. Drinking water quality may decline as more people come into the valley and install new septic tanks.
The Payette River corridor will be increasingly impacted as more and more homes are built with septic systems. More stringent regulations are on the way and it could be possible that it would be harder to do this type of project in the future, or the opportunity to hook up to a state of the art wastewater treatment facility may not be available in the future. Is this the right time for our community? The decision to build a regional wastewater system can only be determined by the local residents.
Public support remains at the top of the priority list and is crucial in moving the project forward. The public is invited to attend a Community forum meeting on December 15 at the Crouch Community Hall at 6:00pm. Visuals, a review of the project and questions will be answered at the meeting.