RICHMOND — Members of the City Council are protecting their water supply by allowing the proposed Cherry Peak Ski Area to tap into the Richmond sewer system.
The Cherry Peak Ski Area is a proposed ski resort which, if approved by Cache County, will be built in the same area as Richmond’s source of drinking water. Mayor Mike Hall said the council’s primary concern is protecting their water source.
“One of our top priorities, if not top priority, is to preserve the water in that area because that’s the water source for Richmond both culinary and irrigation, and our main concern is to make sure that area stays as uncontaminated as possible,” Hall said.
Hall said if the resort is approved by the county, the city council wants one of the conditions for the resort to be that Richmond’s sewer system is used to dispose of the generated waste.
The council wants to have some control over how the waste is managed to ensure it doesn’t end up in the mountain soil, Hall said, thereby contaminating the springs. He said the springs would take years to recover if they were to be contaminated by the resort’s waste water.
Hall said the council cannot risk contaminating the springs because they don’t have the time to wait for them to recover.
“We don’t have that as an option because of the fact that we don’t have a secondary option to turn to while that area regenerates,” Hall said.
Councilman Brad Jensen said he wanted to make sure the council knows that Logan Checketts, who proposed building the new resort, will pay for the changes to the sewer system. Jensen said Checketts understands he will have to pay those fees.
“This connection fee, or access to our sewer system, can by no means be supplemented by any of the Richmond residents,” Jensen said.
Jensen said Richmond residents will not be charged for any of the research or changes to the sewer system because of the new ski resort. He said Checketts has already paid for city engineers to do water modeling for the new sewer additions.
According to Jensen, engineers have already determined that the Richmond sewer system would be able to handle the increased water flow from the ski resort.
Hall said the ski resort is currently a tabled item with Cache County. He said there was a public hearing a few weeks ago and the county will look at the resort again in February.
Councilwoman Terrie Wierenga said she thinks giving the ski resort access to Richmond’s sewer system could help protect the water.
“My biggest concern definitely is protecting the water source,” Wierenga said. “This seems to be a viable option.”
Hall said the council is all in agreement that their primary responsibility and concern is protecting the water source, and that means helping Checketts take care of the waste generated by the resort.