Sv Faces Crucial Water Decisions

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Star Valley has wrestled with one question since incorporation: is there enough drinkable water to last?

Answers have proven elusive. The town could go after Blue Ridge water, test wells for contamination and further monitor well water levels.

Now, Star Valley officials hope the council will finally make its mind up at Tuesday’s council meeting.

“Right now they are as clear as mud,” said Town Manager Tim Grier.

Grier said the staff needs direction so they can move forward.

For several years, the council has floated water issues from meeting to meeting.

After listening to experts, funding several studies and crunching the data, Grier said the council can now make up its mind.

At an April 3 meeting, Payson Water Superintendent Buzz Walker told councilors the town didn’t need Blue Ridge Reservoir water because it has plenty of groundwater.

Besides, even if the town bought into the pipeline, it has no way to distribute the water. Installing a town-wide water system would likely run $18 million, far beyond the town’s borrowing power, Grier said. Councilors have adamantly said they would not support imposing a property tax to raise funds. That leaves few options.

Grier said he expects to hear varying opinions from councilors, but hopes at least four can agree on a plan.

“We still haven’t made a decision one way or the other,” he said. “We need that to continue with long-term and short-term plans.”

Bill Davis, chair of the Water and Sewer Commission, will weigh in on the discussion, presenting before the board votes on three water issues, which include:

• Whether to proceed with well monitoring to determine water quality.

• Should the town buy Blue Ridge water – and if not does it still need the services of water attorney Karen Nally

• Does the contamination of the water table by septic systems pose a real concern.

The discussion will start at 6:30 p.m. at Star Valley’s town hall, 3675 E. Highway 260.

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