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Ephraim City reports water

struggles may be ebbing

 

By James Tilson

Staff writer

8-23-2018

 

EPHRAIM— The Ephraim City Council received the first jar of water drawn from the city’s new test well, and with it, news that city’s water woes may be ebbing.

Holding up a jar of water, director of economic development Bryan Kimball told the city council that he is “very encouraged” with the progress of the city’s new test well, which is located on city-owned property at about 450 S. 400 West.

After three days of pumping, the well is emitting 700-800 gallons per minute, Kimball said, and he believes the results bode well for the well in the future.

The city also received the initial arsenic test results. The test well’s arsenic levels are well below the state’s minimum standards, and much better than the existing well, said Kimball.

The arsenic levels of the city’s existing well in the west-center part of town were what started the city looking into drilling a new well.

Kimball told the council the city would send samples of the test well water to the state for full testing when the water clears up from sediments in a few days.

According to Kimball, the city hopes the state will send its “punch list” for meeting state municipal water requirements in October. Once that is done, the city would be able to put its final designs for the new well out to bid and then start drilling in the late fall. If that happens, Kimball is optimistic that the new well would be online by early spring 2019.

Kimball then talked about how the city was dealing with its water restrictions. He said the city water tanks are filled to the top every day at 5 p.m. And then, after a night of watering, the tanks have been emptied again.

Kimball described how every day Chad Parry, the city utility director, has to perform “a ballet” of redirecting the water flow from one tank to the next to make sure each tank is re-filled and the city’s water flow stays constant.

Kimball related that most houses are using less water than last year, although there are a few that still use more water than most. With this year’s water shortages, the city has had to manage its water supply much more actively than ever before.

Councilman John Scott reported that a new concrete subcontractor has been hired to work on the Ephraim tunnel. He said the new contractor “was on the job.”

The city was forced to recruit a new subcontractor after the contract with the first one ran out because the tunnel project has run at least a year longer than originally anticipated.

City Manager Brant Hanson added “he is very well qualified, even more so than the previous contractor. We feel like we got lucky.”

Kimball said the tunnel workers are “going as quickly as they can” in order to beat the weather and finish the mammoth project year. They have laid 1,000 feet of pipe in the 7,000 foot tunnel.

Ephraim Police Chief Aaron Broomhead delivered an initial report to the council regarding the number of calls the Ephraim Police Department answered outside city limits. The council had asked for his report because of concerns over whether Ephraim was getting the full use of its own police officers, or whether other municipalities were over-relying on Ephriam.

As Scott put it, “They’re [other cities] not hiring, because we’re supplementing their [police] force.”

Chief Broomhead told the council that so far, all he had been able to determine was that the dispatch operator might call Ephraim police for lower priority calls (such as VIN checks) because no other police agencies were available. Broomhead said he would discuss this situation with dispatch to resolve it.