Moroni to drill test well in October as part of new $3.54M water project

City anticipates increasing water supply by one-third

MORONI—Drilling a test well, the first step in a $3.54 million water project in Moroni, is expected to begin about Oct. 1, Mayor Paul Bailey said last week.

The main features of the project are a well in the southwest corner of the city, a 500,000-gallon water tank on hills above 500 North and a 2-mile pipeline to carry water from the well to the tank.  

The project is expected to increase the Moroni water supply by at least one-third and ensure that the city can meet its culinary needs for the next 20 years. 

The city has received a $1.05 million grant and a $2.48 million loan at 1 percent interest from the Utah Division of Drinking Water. Some of that money will go for the test well, and if successful, the main production well.  

The city received three bids on the well—from White Mountain Operating Company of Pinedale Wyoming, High Plains Drilling Inc. of Rexburg, Idaho and KP Ventures Drilling of Camp Verde, Ariz. 

Mayor Bailey, Councilman Fred Atkinson and Councilman Troy Prestwich met in late July to open sealed bids. The low bidder, with a bid of $491,264, was White Mountain Operating Company.

The city council met later the same day as the bid opening and awarded the contract to White Mountain. 

Bailey said the company would drill a test well using a relatively small pipe at a site near the town’s Mud Boggs that is known to have a large water aquifer.

Assuming the company hits water, he said, it will measure the water pressure and test the water, particularly for nitrates. In 2020, an excess of nitrates in Moroni drinking water forced the city to warn that pregnant women and babies should not drink the water.

If purity and pressure measurements are favorable, a much larger pipe will be used to drill a production in the same hole where the test well was drilled, Bailey said.

At the bid opening, Robert Worley, vice president of Sunrise Engineering, the engineering firm for the water project, said if nitrates are high, the production well will not be drilled and a second location for drilling a test well will need to be found. 

The payments on the $2.48 million loan will be $96,700 per year, plus $9,670 per year the city will be required to hold in a reserve fund for the first 10 years. That translates to a total payment of about $106,000 per year. The payments don’t start until 2022. 

To come up with the payment, Moroni has raised water rates an average of $11.50 per household per month and instituted a water impact fee of $3,244 on new homes. 

The city is presently paying $30,000 per year on a bond for previous water pipe repairs. That obligation is about to be paid off. When it is, the $30,000 will be also redirected to water project payments.