The water bodies including rivers, streams and lakes in the beehive state of Utah is facing serious pollution threat. According to a new, the biggest contributor of pollution in Utah’s water system is not industrial plants or expansive mining operations but the flush of a toilet.
The toilet flush system has become the biggest contributor of harmful nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen and cleaning of these pollutants are claiming as much as $1.2 billion to the authorities in wastewater treatment plants.
In a bid to tackle the problem, water quality regulators have come up with a phased approach aimed at phosphorus. They are mulling upgrades that would amount to an extra flush fee on the monthly sewer bill to reduce phosphorus.
The pollutants and excessive presence of naturally occurring elements in the water have harmful effects on the aquatic life.
“The pollutant loading of phosphorus and nitrogen is going to continue unabated unless we take a pre-emptive strike now. This will be the biggest water quality initiative in Utah in 40 years. … The do-nothing alternative is not an option,” said Walt Baker, director of the Utah Division of Water Quality.
Making the first move in this regard, the Utah Water Quality Board has proposed establishment of a numerical limit on the amount of phosphorus the largest wastewater treatment systems can discharge to state waters.
Leland Myers, a Utah Water Quality Board member who serves on the working group dealing with nutrient pollution, said those treatment plants will face upgrades in the $100 million range.
Myers further said, “This is an intermediate step. Some people are happy about it; some people are not.”
Myers manages the Central Davis Sewer treatment plant.