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Mt. Pleasant wins grant for flood control, irrigation

 

By James Tilson

Staff writer

11-1-2018

 

MT. PLEASANT—What may be the largest infrastructure grant in Sanpete County history has been awarded to Mt. Pleasant City to rehabilitate its irrigation water and flood control systems.

The city council announced the award of a $15 million grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of USDA at the last council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 23.

Bryce Wilcox with J-U-B Engineering, the city’s consultant on the project, said details of what will be accomplished with the $15 million haven’t been figured out yet. His firm must still complete an Environmental Assessment (EA) as well as design and engineering.

The award was made possible by the new federal budget approved on March 23, which allotted $895 million to USDA for rural water and waste disposal projects.

While exact details will have to wait for design and engineering, the overarching goals of the project will be to improve flood protection for the city, separate agricultural and residential irrigation users and completely replace the city’s irrigation system.

Wilcox was able to talk about some of the projects that will be part of the overall plan.

First, the project will rehabilitate two debris basins above the city on Pleasant Creek. Wilcox explained the basins were built in the 1950’s to help prevent flooding in the city. Now one of the basins is nearly full of debris and neither catch basin works very well.

Second, the project will created a dedicated retention pond for residential use and a second dedicated pond for agricultural use.

For decades, Mt. Pleasant has been short of secondary irrigation water for residential use in the summer. Some years, when people turned on their sprinkler systems, no water came out. The residents blamed farmers for using all the water. Separating the users will ensure a measured allocation for each user group.

Finally, the whole secondary irrigation system, which has lots of breaks and leaks, will be replaced. It will also be metered so each household is charged only for the water it uses.

At this time, the award has been made by the NRCS. However, the contracts between the NRCS and the city have not been sent to the city. Wilcox said he expected paperwork to arrive by early December.

Once the contracts are signed, J-U-B will conduct a comprehensive environmental assessment (EA), which will include a cost/benefit analysis of the project. Wilcox estimated the EA would take one year to 18 months.

While the EA is being completed, design and engineering can be completed on the project itself. After the EA and design are completed, the construction phase would take another year, Wilcox said.

After the contracts are signed, but before the EA is completed, multiple public “open houses” will be held to help identify issues to be addressed by the improvements. Wilcox told the council J-U-B wanted to get as much public input as they could because “the local users have the knowledge.”