Idaho Falls Citizen Journalism

Leslie Shumate's picture


The city has been asked by the local Forest Service to consider allowing fecal materials, currently being collected from Middle Fork River float trips and treated at North Fork, Idaho, to be deposited into the city’s sewerage treatment system.

According to a report by Team Chairman and Council President Jim Baker the City Public Works Team had the topic on its November 9 agenda and asked the opinion of City Waste Water Treatment Plant Supervisor Charles Cockrell. Cockrell reported that City Finance Director Amy Fealko has contacted Forest Service personnel and given them the name and contact information for Keller and Associates. Keller is the engineering firm that upgraded the city’s waste water treatment plant and therefore can supply needed estimates on any sewerage increase impacts. She has also contacted the community of Riggins, Idaho which has a Forest Service discharge agreement similar to the one being proposed locally.

At the November 16 Council Meeting Fealko said the comments from the Riggins Sewer Superintendent were extremely negative and were mainly due to the excessive amount of extraneous trash that comes with the dumping. She said that city has had to create a holding system which allows the excess trash to sink to the bottom and prevents it from reaching and destroying the pumps. The advice she received was to know all the associated costs and establish substantial hookup fees. Another recommendation was to have the Forest Service obtain its own dumping permit. She said otherwise the city becomes responsible to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Environmental Quality and the full list of associated governmental agencies.

Returning to his meeting report Baker said a letter from the US Army Corps of Engineers has documented current deficiencies of the Tomanovich Flood Risk Reduction Project. He said next Spring City Public Works Supervisor Harry Shanafelt will correct the deficiencies along the section of dike that is the city’s responsibility. Baker said the letter indicated some sections located within county jurisdiction are only minimally acceptable.

The team decided to forward a street vacation/land exchange request to City Attorney Fred Snook for an opinion and to send the Capital Improvement part of the Transportation Plan to the full council for discussion.

The next meeting of the City Public Works Team will be December 7 at 2 PM in the City Hall Conference Room.

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