How Did Humans Survive Without Modern Waste Water Treatment?

by Robert John Stevens, September 8, 2017

I was denied an appeal on Wednesday from a board of four Utah County residents, one was Larry Ellertson a former Utah County Commissioner. I hope my follow-up email, also posted below, offers insight.

Dear Craig (Bostock), Jason (Garrett), Ralph (Clegg) and Carl (Hollan),

Congratulations again on denying my appeal on Wednesday.

At the taxpayers expense, at least six county employees were paid to be at Wednesday’s meeting plus a county lawyer to represent you. I had no representation.

A woman was there recording the event. I give no authorization for that to be used.

You managed to uphold Jason’s water depth reading of 18″ that Craig then required to be written on my subdivision plat, which reading was observed from a 3′ hole, even though you know there is no precedent in Utah County or Utah State Code that justifies that approach as accurate science.

Within days, the water drained and the hole was empty.

An 18″ water depth will require a $24k waste water treatment system vs one half that cost.

You convinced the appeal board that a gray/black line in the soil represents the water table at some time even though you know the material was never analyzed in a lab, nor do you know if it formed from the Lake Bonneville shoreline 14,500 years ago.

You ignored that confirmation by Hugh Hurlow, Senior Scientist at Utah Geological Survey:

2. When an excavator digs a six-foot trench, I see one or more layers of gray-black sediment in the trench walls. What are those layers and do they help determine previous groundwater levels?

If they are dense clay, they may be previous deposits of lake mud (higher levels of Utah lake or, if much older, Lake Bonneville); or if they are more coarse-grained and contain organic material they may be old soil horizons. They probably do not provide information on past groundwater levels.

You ignored the fact that the gray/black matter is found at difference depths. What possible explanation could there be for that? Another of Hugh Hurlow’s answers:

4. Why does the depth of those layers differ in nearby trenches? For example, the layers in two holes dug 280 feet apart differ by 10 inches.

That is not a huge difference geologically, but reasons for the difference may include variation in the land surface during the time the layers were deposited (for example, a slight hill/depression that was submerged beneath an older, larger version of Utah lake), or differential subsidence of the land surface after the layers were deposited, or they are not exactly the same layer.

You convinced the appeal board that water depth can be higher for a lot in the middle of two others of lower depth even though you know that water depth follows the slope of the land and my three lots are relatively flat.

You used fear and told the elderly appeal board that using the same waste water treatment you approved for both neighboring lots would be insufficient and may contaminate the underground water when you know if waste water ever reached the underground well depth of 140 feet deep, it would be filtered.

Craig then used more fear and said waste water may reach Utah Lake and contaminate that water when you know that treated and untreated human waste has been dumped into Utah Lake for decades and that animal and farm waste contaminates our streams.

You also know that until recently, probably all of your ancestors back to Adam dumped waste on their own property but somehow they survived long enough to reproduce and you exist; however you would probably not exist if government regulations made it impossible for them to immediately move onto their land.

You tossed out the entire year of official water depth testing on my lot using pedometers by claiming tests are only good for five years.

Jason claimed the ground was dry when he observed water in a 3′ hole even though he knew it was the wettest winter snow melt off since 1983, and even if there wasn’t mud on his boots the ground underneath was soaked and draining.

I had hoped that the discussion would have revolved around possible lower-cost remedies such as:
A. Till the ground so the dirt soaks up future moisture
B. Install an underground lateral pipe back to the manhole for gravity-fed draining
C. Install a sump pump at the lowest point and pump water uphill to the manhole
D. How to convince UDOT to cover the pipe under 7300 South that conveys flood water across the street to my lot

I had hoped that new, innovative remedies would have been proposed by you.

Installing an alternative waste-water system was never the issue–stamping my plat with an 18″ reading, upholding phony science and unscientific water depth testing was.

You read Utah State Code saying water depth can be determined by a black line without giving me a copy to read and cross examine.

Two of the four board members upheld you even though one had trouble keeping awake during the meeting.

By default, you were right and I had to prove you wrong, not the other way around as it should be.

If you must comply with one-size-fits all state code then why do you have 290 pages of county land-use ordinances?

Did the Founding Fathers establish a system of government to create top-down laws on all issues? Or should lower levels of government be given the freedom to override upper levels wherever the U.S. and state Constitutions not apply?

Or are constitutions dead? Unalienable rights certainly are or you would have recognized and defended my property rights.

Because property rights are basically dead, the state giveth and the state taketh away.

Isn’t one of the purposes of smaller governments to welcome innovation and function as incubators? How can that be one with crippling regulations at every level?

Again, congratulations on your victory. You ignored previous water depths and chose the one you wanted at the expense of plausibility, sound reasoning and liberty.

I’ve concluded my reasoning isn’t enough and that I need basic legal and presentation skills or a good lawyer.

No waste water treatment system is perfect. None can protect against mother nature or biblical events like the recent two trillion gallons of water that rained upon Houston.

Good government recognizes there is a tradeoff between protecting health and protecting private property which allows people to live on their land and make improvements without government interference.

God intended us to live our lives by the sweat of our brow and by living on our own property.

Utah County’s massive regulations have kept us from living on our own land for fourteen years. All I can do is fight, make serial improvements and sell parcels to pay for the development costs.

Sometimes an old man parks his car on our land. His family farmed it and lived there before government interference. They had no waste water treatment system and drank from a shallow well.

Five of our seven kids are now grownups and never learned the meaning of hard work that comes from living on one’s farm.

How will you defend your actions and the corrupt regulations you uphold at Judgment Day?

I have included Hugh’s email response in its entirely below for your review.

Sincerely,

Robert Stevens


Responses from Hugh Hurlow, April 10, 2017 to my questions below:

1. How may I best determine the groundwater table at any given location?
The U.S. Geological Survey publishes groundwater levels at https://maps.waterdata.usgs.gov/mapper/. Select Utah from the Search by State/Territory pulldown menu, then zoom to your area. In the lower-left part of the screen, select Groundwater Sites, and under that select both Active and Inactive Sites, and you will see quite a lot of sites in your area. You can view and download the data for any given well by clicking on the teardrop, then on Access Data in the window that appears. The Active sites are good because they show historical trends and include the most recent data.

2. When an excavator digs a six-foot trench, I see one or more layers of gray-black sediment in the trench walls. What are those layers and do they help determine previous groundwater levels?
If they are dense clay, they may be previous deposits of lake mud (higher levels of Utah lake or, if much older, Lake Bonneville); or if they are more coarse-grained and contain organic material they may be old soil horizons. They probably do not provide information on past groundwater levels.

3. If those layers do provide evidence of historic groundwater levels, how can I determine the age and duration of those levels?
Layers like that can sometimes be dated by small fossils (bivalves) called ostracodes, either by paleontology or the chemical composition of their shells, or by radiocarbon dating of woody material if preserved. These are pretty specialized and expensive techniques, so you would need to get in touch with someone from one of the local Universities that are interested in dating the layers. You could call the geololgy departments to see if anyone works on lake history and see if they want to look at the trench. The ages would more likely relate to the history of Holocene (younger than about 10,000 years) or Pleistocene lakes than groundwater.

4. Why does the depth of those layers differ in nearby trenches? For example, the layers in two holes dug 280 feet apart differ by 10 inches.
That is not a huge difference geologically, but reasons for the difference may include variation in the land surface during the time the layers were deposited (for example, a slight hill/depression that was submerged beneath an older, larger version of Utah lake), or differential subsidence of the land surface after the layers were deposited, or they are not exactly the same layer.

5. What other evidences may I use to determine current and historic groundwater depths because digging trenches present many variables to consider such as the pressure of the incoming water, the saturation of the dirt and the dirt’s ability to transport the water out versus up?
Search the Active Sites in the U.S. Geological Survey NWIS cited above, and find the well(s) with the longest time record. Some of them could go back to the late 1930s. Alternatively, if you are interested in pre-historic groundwater levels, I think that one or two of the professors at BYU has been interested in using old thermal spring deposits to look at past lake level, groundwater, and climate history. Try Greg Carling or Steve Nelson in the Geology Department.

Hemp for Victory But Not for Utah Dogs

In 1942, the U.S. Department of Agriculture created a film to urge farmers to grow more hemp since it was needed in many war-time and civilian products.

Utah, the state that should better, the majority still Mormon and well aware of the Mormon doctrines that God made everything for the use of man, probably under pressure from dog food competitors, banned hemp for dog food.

God man hemp for the use of man.

Read No more pot for pets? Utah prohibits hemp in pet food
See Also:

Building Zion: The Latter-day Saint Legacy of Urban Planning

by Robert John Stevens, February 28, 2017

Utah has won just one National Planning Landmark Award: Joseph Smith’s The Plat of the City of Zion (1833). At the time, Joseph Smith was 27 years old.

Craig Galli’s article, Building Zion: The Latter-day Saint Legacy of Urban Planning” is fascinating and well worth your time to read.

Utah Mormons have deviated far from the original Zion plan and implementation, and from enjoying its benefits, and seem to have forgotten that outlying farmland is preserved not for the expansion of cities, but to sustain cities. When the population increases, the City of Zion plan was to be replicated.

In other words, Benjamin, Utah wasn’t supposed to be preserved for the expansion of Spanish Fork but to be its own city, designed after the City of Zion plan, with outlying farmland to sustain its own people.

Also, farmers were supposed to live in the cities where their families can be enlightened. I called Craig Galli the author and asked, “Where were farmers supposed to keep their equipment?” He said it was a great question and he didn’t know the answer.

David Hall’s slides on the City of Zion says the “Language of the plot is Tyndale’s 16th century English.” Was David influenced by Royal Skousen’s research or did David decide on his own that like the Book of Mormon, it was Tyndale-era English?

City of Zion Documents

How to Build Roads in Phases to Appease County Governments

by Robert John Stevens, February 23, 2017

Asphalt roads dedicated to and maintained by county governments at the expense of taxpaying citizens are a relatively new concept. Mankind has survived and prospered without them for thousands of years.

Utah County, Utah requires driveways in new subdivisions, which may consist of only one buildable 5-acre parcel, to connect directly to paved, dedicated state or county roads. No dead-ends or cul-de-sacs are currently permitted.1 Regulation changes or deletions are needed to remove such barriers.

To appease county government and propose a compromise, here is my solution to build roads in phases:

Road Phases

  1. Build road stubs. This should be enough to fulfill the requirement for driveway access because there is absolutely no difference between shared road stubs and shared driveway stubs for emergency vehicle access.2 A legally binding contract can be drawn up to protect all parties.
  2. Pave one or more road segments. Using fill material (not asphalt), install temporary hammerheads3 for emergency vehicle access in compliance with Appendix D of the International Fire Code. If possible, excavate the remainder of the road, remove all grub and install fill material4 so trucks can drive all the way thru.
  3. Pave the remaining road and remove the temporary hammerheads.

Notes and Issues to Discuss

  1. Because developers will not always complete future phases, county governments want to be left with something they can live with.
  2. Governments were formed to protect property rights, not keep people from building on their own property.
  3. All government-run tasks that can be done by the free market should be taken away from government and given to private businesses for better, faster and higher-quality service.
  4. Asphalt will probably not be the primary material to construct roads in the 22nd century.5
  5. Taxpayers do not want to pay for the maintenance of rural paved roads. If usage is considered, when should a road be paved, and then maintained by government? If savings accounts were created and gold and silver deposited for future maintenance, would government rob them?
  6. Governments regulations experience feature creep. Governments make the same mistake as software development firms by listening to and innovating for the minorities who complain the loudest.
  7. At what point should paved or unpaved roads be dedicated to the county government?

    • Developers should be leery of dedicating roads too early because of unforeseen changes in government regulations or tyranny that will disable their ability to complete future phases.
    • Currently, Utah County won’t approve subdivisions until entire roads are built, paved and dedicated.
    • Dedicating a completed paved road is less risky.
  8. Building entire roads with fill material only will allow trucks to enter and exit.
  9. Until a road is ready to pave, road base should not be installed because of erosion due to weather, vehicles, geological movement resulting in high maintenance. Road base is designed to be a cochin for road pavement and to enable raised center crowns for drainage.
  10. So-called protection by providing legal wording on recorded plats is not always upheld, especially if it contradicts current government regulations or wishes.
  11. Increasing populations affect land prices, making it nearly impossible for new farms to emerge. An orchard farmer recently told an inquiring BYU student that 220 acres would be required to create a profitable fruit orchard business.
  12. Whether intended or not, many regulations to halt or slow development also hinder agricultural competition.
  13. The average age of farmers is increasing and most of their posterity do not want to farm.
  14. Although government officials brag about their county agricultural production, most know if trucks stop shipping food due to an extreme cataclysmic event, local farms cannot provide enough food to sustain the local population and most citizens would die in months.
  15. Most people do want to become farmers. Many who were raised on farms just want one to 5.25-acre parcels. These are the next generation farmers to surround incorporated cities and towns.

1 Although some bureaucrats not like dead-end roads because they become party areas and places where people park cars, trucks and recreation vehicles, is that a good reason to ban them?

2 I lost this battle in September. See Utah County Commissioners Vote Against Inalienable Property Rights and Private Party Contracts but now that Nathan Ivie replaced the opposing Utah County Commissioner, it should be reconsidered.

3 Temporary asphalt hammerheads are too costly to build and remove when the next phase begins.

4 From Excavator Brian Sorensen: Engineered fill or a good bank run fill material consists of rock and dirt mixture. When installed and compacted properly it serves as the structural or stabilization layer to start building a good road. It can be used in some cases as a permanent road, but makes snow removal difficult.

5 Like asphalt, cement has a short lifespan so roads, driveways and buildings built today will need to be torn down and rebuilt, probably at far greater prices.

The Romans’ concrete has lasted 2,000 years. It was used in the Pantheon building in Rome which still stands today. Their cement formula included volcanic rock which is abundant in Utah.

The U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation tried to recreate Roman cement. If their formula works, it could literally save taxpayers trillions of dollars in the future. See Understanding and using the properties that allow Roman concrete to last over 2,000 years.