HUNTSVILLE -- Several Huntsville-area residents have filed a complaint with the Utah Public Service Commission contending Mountain Sewer Corp. failed to prevent raw sewage from entering 15 condominiums in Lakeside Village during a flood.
The complaint was filed by David Smith, Marsha Smith, Dawn Martell, Bob Kimball, Frank Cumberland, and Larry Zini.
The complainants are asking the Public Service Commission to inspect Mountain Sewer to prevent a recurrence of problems that happened the night of March 16.
They have also requested that the Public Service Commission audit Mountain Sewer's financial records to determine if charges to customers and prospective customers have been proper and uniform.
The complaint isn't an attempt to crucify Mountain Sewer or its owner, Ronald Catanzaro, Zini said.
"All we really want is a sewer company that functions properly and bills properly," he said.
Mountain Sewer does an outstanding job serving Huntsville-area residents, said Catanzaro, who denied the allegations contained in the complaint. "I think we have been successful," he said.
Ross Hudson, a complaint specialist with the state Division of Public Utilities, said he will recommend that the Public Service Commission hold a hearing on the complaint. He declined to provide the Standard-Examiner with information regarding the grievance.
However, Zini gave the newspaper a copy of the complaint and noted that Mountain Sewer serves about 125 customers in Lakeside Village, The Summit at Ski Lake and Edgewater Chalets.
Mountain Sewer and Lakeview Water Corp. in Huntsville, also owned by Catanzaro, are scheduled to be sold at a tax auction on May 26, according to the Weber County Treasurer's Office.
Catanzaro owes a total of $1,722 for Mountain Sewer and $3,222 for Lakeview Water for unpaid property taxes from 2006 to 2010, records indicate.
Catanzaro said he will pay the bill this week.
The complaint from the Huntsville-area residents contends that during the March 16 flood, Mountain Sewer failed to provide adequate, efficient and reasonable service to prevent raw sewage from entering 15 condominiums at Lakeside Village.
Catanzaro explained that a Utah Department of Transportation storm water grate near old Snowbasin Road and State Road 39 in Huntsville became plugged with debris resulting in a large volume of water flowing into a nearby sewer manhole that had been breached, possibly by a snow plow.
The amount of water entering Mountain Sewer's system overwhelmed pumps and two pumper trucks, causing sewage to overflow from a containment area into some Lakeside Village condominiums, he said.
Kimball, who lives near Flint, Mich., and resides part time in Lakeside Village, said 13 condos each sustained several thousand dollars in damage from the sewage. The remaining two condos had significantly less damage, he said.
Damages from the sewage sparked by the flood is just one of several problems that have plagued Mountain Sewer, Kimball said.
"The flood was the straw that broke the camel's back," he added.
The Huntsville residents' complaint also contends Mountain Sewer has attempted to charge disparate connection fees to new users that are lower than those charged to existing customers without obtaining permission from the Public Service Commission.
Catanzaro denied the allegation. "The charges have been correct," he said.
It's also concerning that Mountain Sewer on several occasions has pumped raw sewage from Lakeside Village into trucks, transported it to The Summit at Ski Lake and dumped it into manholes that feed sewage lagoons, Zini said.
Catanzaro offered an explanation for the dumping.
There has been a problem with rags and other items from condos being flushed into Mountain Sewer's system and clogging pumps, Catanzaro said.
In removing the items, trucks have taken sewage and placed it in manholes at The Summit at Ski Lake, which is less costly than transporting to an Ogden treatment facility, he said.
The Weber County Commissioners have ultimate responsibility for Mountain Sewer but do not manage its day-to-day operation, said Commissioner Jan M. Zogmaister, who sympathizes with the complainants.
"I hope they get it resolved," she said. "I feel bad for people in the area."