Spring City makes plan to rehabilitate culinary springs, update water master plan
By Suzanne Dean
Sept. 28, 2017
SPRING CITY—Spring City is getting ready to do some major work related to its water and sewer systems.
The most immediate project is rehabilitation of the water collection system around five springs in Spring City Canyon that provide nearly all of the city’s drinking water. The estimated cost of the work is $326,200.
Also on tap is developing a master plan for extending water and sewer lines within the city, and in some cases beyond the city boundaries, in order to handle growth. Preparation of the master plan is expected to cost $30,000 to $50,000.
Sanpete County has ranked the springs project as the No. 1 priority in the county on its local capital improvements list. That should put the project in a good position to get funding.
The city is set to submit an application to the Utah Community Impact Board (CIB) next month for a grant covering half the cost of the project. The city plans to cover the other half through a 20-year general obligation bond, according to Jim Phillips, assistant city treasurer and secretary to the planning commission.
Councilwoman Kimberly Stewart is heading up the project for the city. Phillips is the key staff contact in city offices.
The five springs are located about 4 miles up the canyon. Three of them are below and two above Mud Hole Campground. Phillips, who is also an engineer, says the project, which will involve extensive excavating, will be challenging because of the terrain.
The system for collecting water from the springs includes perforated pipe around each spring that draws in the spring water. The pipes carry the water to collection boxes, one for each spring. All of the boxes drain into a larger pipeline, which brings the water down the mountain into town.
In the past, the pipeline delivered 250-300 gallons per minute into the Spring City culinary system. But as tree roots and sediment have clogged collection boxes and pipes, output has dropped to 80 gallons per minute, according to Jim Bennett, head of the Water Department.
In fact, the city has ceased using one spring entirely because it has become contaminated by sediment and organic matter.
Ironically, Phillips says, because the collection system is clogged up and can no longer hold the water coming out of the springs, much of the water flows out across the ground, where it irrigates hardwood trees, which put down more roots and further clog water collection boxes.
The rehabilitation project will involve “digging up everything and replacing (parts) as necessary,” Phillips says. Almost certainly, all of the collection boxes will need to be replaced. The project includes getting the contaminated spring back into use.
According to Phillips, if the CIB approves funding, the springs project could go out to bid as early as March.
The water and sewer master plan is needed to help the city develop a timetable for extending water and sewer lines to accommodate growth.
Currently, if someone builds a house in the city, or on the periphery, and if the house is more than 300 feet from the nearest sewer line, the home builder is permitted to install a septic tank. The city wants to curb the trend toward septic tanks.
“We have people who would like to be on (the sewer) right now, but they’re not close enough,” Phillips says.
One owner of a new home was 400 feet from the nearest sewer line but was determined to connect. So he paid the cost of running a line from his home to the nearest main line. But most owners can’t afford that kind of cost.
Consulting engineers writing the master plan would identify growth areas and then outline projects, with costs, for extending water and sewer mains to those areas, Phillips said. The plan would recommend a priority order for the projects.
The city plans to also seek funding for the master plan from the CIB. It plans to submit an application in time for a CIB meeting in February, 2018.