MORONI—Moroni City will soon work on not one, but two major water projects.
The city is a little more than a year into a $4.6 million upgrade of its culinary water system. Moroni was recently one of 70 applicants, mostly cities, to be approved in the first round of state funding for money to put meters on secondary irrigation connections.
The estimated cost to install about 500 secondary meters in Moroni is $1.35 million. The city received a $949,000 grant, which will cover about 70% of the cost. It was also awarded a $346,000 loan for 15 years at 1% interest, which will translate to about $27,000.
The city will need to come up with about $60,000 on its own. Justin Atkinson, engineer with Sunrise Engineering, Moroni’s engineering firm, told the city council on Aug 18 that the firm were happy with the outcome of the grant. “It would be nice if it was all grant,” Atkinson said, “but 70%’s pretty good.”
The 2022 Legislature passed a bill, HR242, requiring meters to be installed on all secondary irrigation systems to encourage water conservation.
The Legislature allocated $250 million from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for grants and loans to cities and other sponsors of secondary systems. The first application deadline was May 16.
Justin Atkinson and his brother on the council, Fred Atkinson, worked hard to get the application submitted in time, Mayor Paul Bailey said.
Funding packages may not be as generous in future funding rounds, the mayor said. “We appreciate you and Fred getting that (application) done for the citizens. Otherwise, we might be paying 1% interest on the whole thing.”
Justin Atkinson said before any work starts, the Moroni public works staff will need to create a map showing all sec- ondary irrigation connections.
The city then has the option of hiring Sunrise to put a bid package together, help select a contractor and oversee installation of meters.
Currently, the city uses Neptune auto-read meters for culinary water. The meters transmit usage data to city computers using radio waves. No human meter-reader is required. Justin Atkinson said the city would probably want to order the same brand and type of meter for the secondary system.
He said city public works staff would need to go to the site of each meter to give installers codes for the auto-read system. “It might make sense for your guys to just install the meters, too. But that’s totally up to you,” he told the council.
Councilman Craig Draper asked if it would make sense for the city to order materials for the project “so we didn’t have that markup from the contractor.”
“We’re going to get a better discount as a municipality with no taxes,” Mayor Bailey said.
“We need to truly try to order everything,” Fred Atkinson said. “If we’re going to put 500 (meters) in, we need 500 ofeverything,”includefittings, valves and meter barrels, he said. “And we’ve definitely got to do it with meters, because those meters are going to go quick.”
From there the discussion turned to meter size. Earlier, the council approved meters with 1 1/2-inch connection pipes. The rationale was that the maximum flow through 1 1/2-inch pipes is 100 gallons per minute, while 1-inch meters can only handle 50 per minute.
The problem was that those wider-piped meters cost about $900 apiece, while the 1-inch models are about $400.
Councilman Atkinson and Mayor Bailey told the council they had done a test on Bailey’s yard. The 1-inch meters ran 10 sprinkler heads at one time “with no problems,” Bailey said. “I’m convinced that the 1-inch meter is the way to go.”
Most secondary sprinkling systems in Moroni use 3/4- inch pipes and 3/4-inch valves, Councilman Atkinson said. Those sizes will fit the 1-inch meters.
Customers who have installed their sprinkler systems with oversize (non-compliant) piping may need to “rezone” their systems in order to get proper coverage with a 1-inch meter, Justin Atkinson, the engineer, said. This will probably be determined on a case-by- case basis.
Robert Hill, a resident, said the 50 gallons per minute rate for a 1-inch meter is ample and one of the goals of the meter project should be to standardize all sprinkler systems citywide.