Springerville -- The Forest Service will have to close Hoyer Campground at Greer this summer due to problems with the wastewater treatment facility. About $10,000 of campsite reservations will have to be refunded, and those campers directed elsewhere.
"We have tried to keep an outdated wastewater treatment system on line as long as possible while we searched for funds to replace it, but we ran out of time," said Bob Taylor, Resources Staff Officer on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.
"The wet winter has resulted in a lot of groundwater infiltrating the treatment ponds. That is not supposed to happen, so we have to shut the wastewater system down to remain in compliance with state of Arizona environmental regulations."
Hoyer Campground was built in the 1970's and has been very popular with campers. The 100-unit campground has seven flush toilet buildings, one shower building and an RV dump station, all of which use the wastewater system. The cost to replace the system is estimated to be about $1 million.
"We looked at the possibility of just using portable toilets at Hoyer this summer but that cost estimate is over $40,000," Taylor said. "The cost to replace the flush toilets with vault toilets is estimated at over $350,000 and we simply do not have the funds to do that."
Forest Service Facilities Engineer Jim Morrison said that the snowmelt had been putting 80,000 gallons each day into the sewer ponds several weeks ago. "The lagoons are at their maximum storage level now before they see any use from the campground and the overland flow area is saturated," he said. "We have tested for coliform bacteria outside the lagoons and those tests have come back negative but we know that this is a serious matter."
"We regret the inconvenience to campers and to the community of Greer," said Taylor. "The nearby 24-unit Benny Creek Campground is scheduled to be open this summer. It is a vault toilet system and will not be affected by the shutdown of the wastewater treatment system that services Hoyer."