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Herriman City Council to perform studies of Blackridge Reservoir issues

Sep 04, 2015 02:51PM ● Published by Rhett Wilkinson

Herriman City is dealing with Blackridge Reservoir issues, including an algae bloom. Photo courtesy Herriman City

By Rhett Wilkinson

South Valley - Algae. Overcrowding. Testing. Now, studies.

The Herriman City Council determined Wednesday that it would perform studies about issues relating to overcrowding at Blackridge Reservoir. The Reservoir also saw an algae bloom, resulting in a closure Aug. 6 for the season. A new aeration system was installed last week in the reservoir. The decision follows a town meeting July 28 that 49 residents on record attended.

The city councilman representing the reservoir’s district is uncertain about what needs to be changed. A candidate to replace his open seat said it goes beyond the two issues of the algae bloom and overcrowding.

The studies will concern paying for parking at the reservoir and a parking permit. Because the city knows how to handle other issues, it will not conduct further studies, Herriman City spokeswoman Tami Moody told the South Valley Journal. The studies will most likely be conducted by the city’s engineering department, Moody said.

“After looking at it and knowing what might be truly viable solutions, we decided that we would have to do studies,” Moody said. “They narrowed it down to ‘what studies.’”

Homeowners said the reservoir’s current lot is too small, which leads to drivers parking on either side of the neighborhood streets.

The city has a goal to implement solutions, including those for the paid parking and a parking permit program, by January, Moody said. The next season will open on Memorial Day weekend.

Between June and the July 28 meeting, police have issued 77 citations at the reservoir, 55 of which were for parking violations.

The cost of reservoir parking and a parking permit should be between $8,000 and $100,000, Moody said. There are many options with reservoir parking and the parking permit program cost ranges from $30,000 to $50,000, Moody said.

Issues where studies aren’t being applied include providing reservoir education, striping curbs and directional signs.

The city expected results back from an algaecide treatment on Thursday, Aug. 27 after the treatment that started Aug. 12 and 13 ended on Aug. 20. Five to seven days were expected for the treatment. Then the city will re-test the water for the presence of algae, of which results are expected within seven days, Moody said.

The city received initial toxin results Aug. 12, the first test after the closure, non-detectable levels of toxins. But the Utah Department of Environmental Quality was concerned about a low enough cell number count per milligram of algae. So the City decided to treat the reservoir anyway before waiting for those results, Moody said.

The new aeration system installed last week keeps the water moving at all times. It’s a system in the bottom of the reservoir that keeps air flow bubbles coming up, and keeps water moving and aerated. The algae resulted from a broken aerated system, Moody said.

“We’re hoping it will last longer and do a lot better,” Moody said of the new system.

After the citizens’ meeting, staff researched the past three weeks what options among those suggested by residents could produce the best income. Some of the options mentioned were a permit parking program, adding additional parking, paid entry and also red-curbing all of the intersections, Moody said.

Mike Day represents District 4, which includes Blackridge Reservoir. On the algae issue, he said he would “keep opinions to (himself)” because he was “not qualified” to talk about it. On the overcrowding issue, he said that it’s not as big an issue as some may think because the Jaws-like appearance of the beach is found “probably once or twice per year.” The Fourth of July, Pioneer Day and maybe a holiday or weekend only cause an issue, he said.

Residents also moved to the area knowing that the reservoir, with its issues, was there, Day said. He estimated that at least 90 percent of the homes were not yet constructed when the reservoir was built in 2007. Day himself moved in while the reservoir was being built, he said.

Day, whose children are teenagers, added that stage of life influences your thinking about how big the issues are.

“If my kids were out playing in the street and it was July, I’d be concerned,” he said.

Day brought up speeding as an issue. Money can come from parking to offset law enforcement costs, he said. He pointed out that people complain about speeding in the area, but the number one speeders are area residents. The council has appropriated money for overtime pay for officers for parking lockdown, he added.

Nicole Martin is a candidate for Day’s seat. She said that it goes beyond the algae bloom and overcrowding issues, even back to the inception of the pond itself.

“I know the natives in the area are concerned with property rights infringement, inadequate parking, inappropriate behavior, and traffic flow has been a concern,” she said. “We’re looking at a handful of fairly significant issues we need to deal with.”

The issues have been brought up “consistently” in public meetings, she said.

She believes that the reservoir is a “fantastic amenity” and that residents have said that they want an “amenity-rich community.”

“It not only creates a high quality of life, but brings people into the city, helping with city tax revenue,” she said. “Heading into the offseason gives us the opportunity for a game plan and solution for many, if not all, of these problems.”

Martin’s opponent David Watts did not return a request for comment.

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