The sewage area continues to cut back on new connections due to capacity issues

Chile – Many construction projects in the area are in limbo due to people’s inability to connect to the sewage system, so contractors, builders and community members are expressing their fears and frustration.

A crowded meeting on Thursday lasted just over three hours at Shelley City Hall, after a local council decided the cut should remain in effect for at least two weeks, meaning no new sewer connections could be added.

Packed meeting at Chile City Hall on Thursday. | Andrea Olson,


The downsizing was started on June 16 by the Eastern Idaho Regional Wastewater Authority (EIRWWA).

Related | Building permits suspended after the Wastewater Authority cut connections

The EIRWWA board said at the time that it provides wastewater treatment service to customers in its service area, which includes Chile and parts of Ammonites, Bonneville County and Bingham County. EIRWWA’s Oxbow treatment plant is located in western Chile on the banks of the Snake River.

Initially, the city of Ammon was not in the process of issuing any building permits.

But within a week or so of the downsizing time, Ammon City manager Mica Austin said the city began accepting applications for building permits again but with a disclaimer agreement that must be signed.

“This waiver of liability really absolves the city of Ammon from any liability related to a project. People who are going ahead with it are acknowledging that they do not have a sewage permit… and they are applying at their own risk,” Austin told

Stacy Pascoe, Mayor of Chile, told that the city is looking at ways people can move forward with construction.

However, the downsizing has been adjusted as of Thursday for failed septic tanks.

“We have some failed sewage in the county that is within 300 feet of the line, and as a requirement of EQM, according to state law[states]that if you (a) have a failed septic system and you are within 300 feet of the line,” said Brian Powell, president of Eastern Idaho Regional Sanitation District, “A foot of the sewer line that goes to a station, you’re required to call and we have some of those.”

New board members sworn in

It’s a tough job now, especially since as of Thursday the EIRWWA is no more and now a new board has been formed with new members like the Eastern Idaho Regional Sanitation District (EIRSD) due to vote for the sewage district during the elections in May.

Five new board members were sworn in Thursday during the meeting to take over the downsizing imposed by EIRWWA. The board includes Powell, Craig Tibbets, Brad Hegley, Frank Limo and Craig Cutler.

The new council did not have a chance to meet before Thursday’s meeting.

Capacity issues

One of the main reasons why the original board (EIRWWA) cut communications was because of what happened to the plant on February 14 when it got an illegal discharge of sewage containing certain chemicals that affected the treatment process.

At a meeting Thursday, Powell said that about 2,000 gallons of silicone lubricant was dumped down the drain and affected the plant. Capacity reduced at the plant by 20 to 30 percent.

“I really apologize for the situation we are in. My frustration — and I would call it outrage — is that the individual or company that put this lubricant down the drain… robbed us of our ability,” Powell said. this discussion.”

Bingham County District Attorney Paul Rogers, like many others, wondered if anyone knew who disposed of the substance.

“Do we know if this was intentional? Let me know. I am the Bingham County District Attorney,” Rogers said.

Powell told that there is a $10,000 reward for information leading to whoever dumped the material at the plant. He said anyone could contact elected officials in Chile or in Ammon about this and also the EIRSD board if there was any information.

Expansion plan and what’s next?

“I took my life savings to buy this amount, and I’m afraid.”

Plans are made to expand the plant, which will increase capacity by building additional biological ponds. This is the first stage. It could cost about $15 million. Part of the money comes from connection fees people have paid in the past, ARPA funds and a DEQ grant, Powell said.

The expansion may take 12 to 18 months to complete.

A woman named Theresa Young, like many of the others in the meeting, expressed her concerns when she bought a lot in February at Country Club Hills. Her share was sitting after the downsizing was put in place.

“I took my life savings to buy that much, and I’m scared. I’m so scared. I’m ready to undo all of that. I can’t wait 18 months to build a house. I honestly believed when I bought this set in February, ‘It’s perfect,'” she said. than 40 thousand dollars.

Others expressed similar concerns.

“We’re starting a project at Exit 113 for Eaton Towing, and we don’t have a permit (to contact) yet. … Is there a waiting list? We’ve already got the money invested,” said the Eaton Towing representative.

“I’ve owned my lot for over a year. Health issues kept me from building last year. I’m ready to build now,” said Nelson Melton, a resident of the area.

Milton, like the others, wants there to be an order of who gets the ability first and wants it to be a fair process.

Powell said the board will be discussing the questions and issues in the next two weeks and hopefully it will have some answers.

At the moment, the meeting is scheduled for August 16 at 9 am in Chile City Hall.

Oxbow processing plant in Bingham County. | Andrea Olson,

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