A Salt Lake City-County Health Department official says Amtrak officials have snubbed requests that they stop dumping raw sewage along railroad rights of way in Utah and have told state officials that only Congress can make them halt the practice.
Gene Davenport of the health department told the Midvale City Council on Wednesday that the practice of flushing human waste from passenger trains is common on rights of way throughout the state. Officials with the county and the Utah Bureau of Hazardous and Solid Waste have documented numerous dumpings along tracks in the Helper area and in the Salt Lake Valley.The raw sewage poses a health risk, Davenport said.
"We have approached Amtrak and they've told us, `We're not interested. We have nothing to do with Salt Lake County or the state of Utah. We are controlled by Congress,' " he said.
He said Amtrak claims the Enviromental Protection Agency has approved the practice.
The council approved a letter to be sent to state officials and Utah's congressional delegation calling for an investigation of the problem.
Mayor Everett Dahl said he is particularly concerned about what effect the dumping will have on the Price River, which feeds the Price and Helper culinary water supply.