MORONI—On a project as large as the $3.54 million Moroni culinary water system expansion, lots of pieces have to fall into place in the right order.
The city is waiting for that to happen, Robert Worley, vice president of Sunrise Engineering, said Monday.
In October, Worley gave the Moroni City Council the good news that water coming out of a test well in the southwest part of the city was exceptionally low in nitrates.
The EPA standard for nitrates is 10 parts per million (ppm). The main impetus for the project is replacing a well drilled in the 1960s that exceeds the standard. The only way Moroni has been able to use the “old well” has been by mixing water from that well with water from a newer well whose nitrates are below 1 ppm.
In the test well, nitrates measured just 0.7 ppm, which was lower than the present “good” well. That meant the city could go ahead with a production well, which will be drilled in the same hole as the test well.
That is when some final administrative pieces come together.
First, the city needs to buy just under an acre of land where the test well is now located before drilling can start on the production well. A well house, driveway and fencing will be added.
In October, the council voted to offer the landowner, Sheldon Holgreen, $15,000 for the site. Holgreen accepted the price. But the sale hasn’t closed yet.
Second, Sunrise Engineering, on behalf of the city, is required to submit a Preliminary Evaluation Report (PER) to the Utah Division of Drinking Water (DDW). The report documents that the land around the well—and water in the well itself—will be protected from contamination.
The report is all but complete, Worley said. But the city must have the title to the well site, and the title has to be recorded with the county recorder before the state will accept the report. That can’t happen until the land sale closes.
Finally, DDW has awarded a grant of $1.05 million and a loan of $2.48 million to Moroni City. But before any money can flow, the city has to close on a bank bond to cover the $2.48 million loan. However, the city can’t close on the bond until DDW approves a source-protection analysis in the form of the PER.
In November, the city council decided to take a risk to push the project along. The council directed Sunrise to issue a “change order” to the drilling contractor instructing the company to switch from drilling a test well to drilling a production well.
Based on the change order, the contractor has ordered pipe for the production well so work can begin as soon as the land sale is complete, the PER is approved and the bond is closed.
The change order was a risk because it essentially authorized the contractor to order about $30,000 worth of pipe to be used in the production well. If a legal or regulatory problem arose that delayed funding, the city could have to pay the $30,000 out of its own resources.
But Worley told the council if the city held off on the change order, the whole project, which includes two miles of pipe, a new water tank and an overflow reservoir near the tank, among other features, could be delayed six months.
“I think it’s unanimous,” Mayor Paul Bailey said at the November meeting. “All six of us [the mayor and five council members] think it [the pipe] should be ordered.”
As for starting to drill the production well, signaling the start of one of the biggest city projects in Moroni history, “We’re still probably a few weeks out,” Worley said Monday.