Ephraim City loses a million gallons of
water, asks residents to conserve
By Robert Stevens
EPHRAIM—More than 1 million gallons of water was lost in Ephraim City over the weekend after a water main broke in two places and city crews scrambled to repair them.
Chad Parry, public works director, said the break was discovered on Saturday in a pressurized pipe that runs from springs in Ephraim Canyon (the city’s primary water source), through two of the city hydroelectric plants, and into a complex of seven city water tanks.
Parry said a pressure gauge in one of the hydro plants had registered low water pressure for a few weeks. But workers thought the drop might be occurring because the sparse snowpack was reducing water output from the springs.
Then on Saturday about 10 a.m., Parry got a report of a complete break in the pressurized line, which is designed to carry 900 gallons of water per square inch. Water was gushing out of the broken pipe and flowing down the mountainside.
The large amount of water lost was due in part to the fact that the break happened in an area with high water pressure.
According to city engineer Bryan Kimball, city crews repaired the initial leak on Monday, but after turning the water back on, a second leak was found, which was probably caused by a reaction from the first leak.
All of the tanks, including 1.5-million-gallon underground tank completed in 2011, are connected, so the water loss could affect levels in all the tanks.
Kimball said city crews have temporarily addressed the second leak by diverting most of the water to a different pipeline and are working now to repair the second leak.
With the water mostly diverted to another pipeline, the water is flowing and tanks are filling again, Kimball said.
Based on the observations at the hydro plant, Parry believes the pipe had been leaking for some time before it broke completely.
Now that the pipe is repaired, and no water is being lost, “we’re hoping this is going to help our water situation,” he said.
Kimball said there are no current mandatory water restrictions in place, but conservation of water, such as a voluntary reduction in lawn watering, is highly encouraged during this time, and the city splash pad has been turned off as of Tuesday.
“We are still in a very dry water year which is affecting our water supply, and the water situation is being monitored closely,” Kimball said.