“The [facility] under construction now will enable the city and the region, meaning Spanish Valley out to Blue Hills, to effectively treat effluent for many decades to come, based on current growth projections,” Everitt said. “The facility replaces one that has outlived its useful life and is dependent on outdated technology.”
According to Everitt, Moab has dealt with a number of issues in recent years stemming from its inability to process the high volume of waste produced in the city and surrounding areas. Originally built in the 1950s, the city’s current water reclamation facility has struggled to keep up with rapid population expansion and a growing tourism industry.
The city attempted to control the flow of sewage into their system in November 2016 by refusing to process waste from the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service, in addition to enacting a moratorium on new commercial sewer connections.
Moab City Public Works Director Patrick Dean said that with such an old system it was often difficult to make repairs and replace parts.
“[The city] procrastinated enough to the point where it became a necessity and not a nicety,” Dean said. “The new facility will be able to resolve the current complications and prepare for increased capacity as the city continues to grow. The future is the future, and we’re looking forward to providing better service to the people of Moab and to Grand County.”
While the existing facility can handle 1.5 million gallons per day, the new facility will be able to process 1.75 million gallons per day. An additional tank is being constructed at the new facility, which will be able to process another 1 million gallons per day. While Dean said he believes the 1.75-million-gallon tank should be more than enough to serve Moab’s current needs, the additional tank is being constructed to anticipate Moab’s growth throughout the next 30 years. As tourism continues to increase, and with the approval for construction of 2,000 new homes just south of Grand County, this new facility may soon find it necessary to use both tanks, with a total processing capacity of 2.75 million gallons per day.
Dean said the new facility has been a long time coming.
“We had to go through a step-by-step process,” Dean said. “We went through that process and made it work, and now we’re in the construction phase, getting excited to start that plan, and we’re ready to go.”
The project, which Everitt said will cost between $14.5 million and $15 million, is funded through low-interest loans from the state, which will then be repaid with user fees and impact fees.
“The state understood our need for the facility and is working with us to achieve that goal,” said Dean.
Editor's note: This is an updated version of the story to reflect a correction in the method of repayment for the low-interest loan used to fund the project.