by Robert Stevens, December 8, 2016
Letter to the Utah County Health Department:
Dear … (names removed),
Because the Utah County Health Department (UCHD) claims the below-surface water depth of my 5.25-acre parcel measured 32 inches vs 34 inches, the future homeowner must pay an additional $5k for his sewage system according to excavator Brian Sorensen’s estimate.
This policy is not consistent with fairness. Please consider my appeal:
1. Would a better policy be to take the average of all four measurements?
Notice the attached UCHD measurements were 54″ in October, 44″ in March, 32″ in July, 59″ in September and 51″in December. UCHD chose the 32″ measurement that penalizes.
2. Should measurements be avoided during flood irrigation months?
In July Strawberry Water discharged tens of thousands of gallons of water onto that parcel. Suppose UCHD purposely measured ground-water levels the same or next day after parcels are flood irrigated, wouldn’t they all fail?
3. Notice in September, near the end of the previous irrigation season, the water level dropped to 59″ — What can we conclude from that steep drop?
4. Because the PVC test pipe was not encased in gravel, its holes eventually became clogged–perhaps with mud, debris, dead animals and/or by a youth prank. We then dug a trench next to it and confirmed the water level was far below the surface as expected.
5. At the time of these measurements, UCHD measured underground water levels four times a year. Now they measure monthly, increased fees by $250 and increased their odds of penalizing the landowner.
6. To re-test and monitor for another year puts landowners another year closer to their water rights expiring.
7. Human waste on farms and gardens is desirable. In fact, neighbor Bill Robinson fertilizes his entire 35-acre farm with human waste from Orem.
8. There is no evidence that sewage will contaminate the underground water that is 145-feet below the surface and constantly flowing.
9. UCHD’s measurements did not match my measurements. As much as we trust and admire Brian who took the measurement, we have no proof it was done correctly.
10. Government-run tasks are not accountable. UCHD has nothing to lose by decreeing their verdict. Since there were no checks in place to verify the accuracy of the measurements, should we accept UCHD’s policy or give the landowner the benefit of the doubt?
11. Governments want to protect us from ourselves and everything but most religions teach that God wants us to suffer and address pains or needs—perhaps so we think and create solutions of value.
12. UCHD regulations and Utah County’s 270 pages of land-use ordinances have resulted in almost no new farms in decades. They do successfully use the force of government to shut out new, emerging farm competitors.
Please average your water depth measurements, lower your fees, return to measuring less frequently, and establish fair checks and balances.
A better approach is to get out entirely of the business of policing the lives of landowners with ever-increasing regulations and honor inalienable rights and free markets.
Let us remember the golden rule and hope God doesn’t embrace UCHD’s approach for Judgment Day or he may damn us all according to the worst thing we do in our lives.
Thank you again for visiting with me yesterday. We had a good discussion.