Sunday, October 22, 2006

STEP system neglect, failure along Beaver Lake shore

A few months ago, I discussed the Spitzer-headlined development team seeking approval for their 25 story condo buildings along Beaver Lake off Highway 12 near Avoca. I believed then that STEP systems of that size on our water supply's shore is a bad idea. Turns out, we now have a recent example of what could go wrong with the decentralized septic systems. A public sewer line absolutely MUST be connected to the condo development if it ultimately happens. According to (a.k.a. the DoG),

"The trees and overgrown grass and weeds are growing in a sand filter, a gravel pit that is half of the decentralized sewer system at Sunset Bay, a subdivision east of Rogers. The system’s filters are supposed to be clear of vegetation so pumps can filter wastewater coming from Sunset Bay’s seven homes.
Five filters have been abandoned, leaving partially treated wastewater to drain into a nearby creek that runs south for 1, 000 feet before emptying directly into Beaver Lake.
“It’s essentially raw sewage,” said Allen, district manager for Benton County Water District No. 1. “This should have been mowed from day one.”
The water district isn’t responsible for the system because it doesn’t maintain the subdivision’s sewer system, Allen said. Sunset Bay’s property owners association was given that responsibility by developer Wesley Kent Neff, whose company, Summit One LLC, declared bankruptcy in September."

Not that Grandview Heights developers would ever declare bankruptcy and abandon the system's upkeep to the fates, but businesses fail each day across the globe and a business should NEVER be confused with a responsible government who answers to the public to the point of fatigue. A municipal sewer connection would always need to answer to the public and rarely file bankruptcy in comparison to scores of businesses. Our water supply and the clean disposal of waste should be a municipal responsibility. ADEQ blames county authorities for the lack of true oversight of STEP systems for subdivisions out of city limits and county officials blame ADEQ. That political hot-potato-passing should NEVER happen when it comes to preserving our safe drinking water supply. Raw sewage in Beaver Lake can in no way be spun to seem safe to promote a privatized overseer who could say "to hell with this upkeep bill, we'll pass the buck to the ethers...let the market take care of it." Fortunately for anti-government demagogues, their darling Pres. Bush is not held up to a business standard for whether he gets to keep his job. If Bush were a CEO, he would have been out on his assssss with his golden parachute to the sublime life of a retired wealthy CEO in Florida, the Bahamas, and the multiple other homes he or she has accumulated over the years.

Benton County should take charge of the issue and make certain this devlopment doesn't threaten our ciritcal water supply. It's time for a true Beaver Lake Water Authority to have government powers over building and development of every type within a certain distance from Beaver Lake. The creek is 1,000 feet from the lake that has been failing at Sunset Bay with 11 homes.


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