Test drilling will find best locations for new Mt. Pleasant City wells

Test drilling will find best locations for new Mt. Pleasant City wells


James Tilson

Staff writer


MT. PLEASANT — Preliminary work is progressing on a project to expand Mt. Pleasant’s culinary water system, a consulting engineer told the city council last week.

Robert Worley of Sunrise Engineering, the city’s consulting engineering firm, said a preliminary engineering report along with an environmental assessment are two to three months from completion, but Sunrise is ready to drill test wells to find the best locations for new wells.

Worley was back in front of the council for the first time since last fall, when the council authorized Sunrise to go ahead with efforts to secure funding for a major water project.

Worley had previously reported to the council that the city was facing a water shortage in its future and needed to find new sources of water or develop treatment systems enabling it to treat and use more of the water from existing sources.

Worley said Sunrise had gone as far as it could on the engineering report and environmental assessment. The company will have to wait another two to three months for the snow to melt along the mountain bench east of the city to complete both studies.

Sunrise’s engineers found several sites around Mt. Pleasant for possible new wells, Worley reported. The company’s hydrologists liked sites west of the town because of greater likelihood of water production. But those sites also come with the issues, including source protection from contamination and property acquisition. The sites to the east of town are closer to storage,  would need less pipe and thus would be cheaper to establish.

Worley emphasized that the real risks involved drilling for new wells. There is the possibility of  the drill hole not producing sufficient water for the town’s needs.

Treating the town’s current water sources would solve the short-term problems but would likely land the town in trouble in 20 years.

If a new well can provide 1,000 to 1,500 gallons per minute (what Worley called “the mother lode”), then Mt. Pleasant’s water problems would be solved for the foreseeable future.

If a new well only provided 300 to 500 gallons per minute (what Worley called “the most realistic outcome”), then a new well combined with treating current sources would solve the city’s problems.

According to Worley, “Everything hinges on the well.”  By drilling test holes, Worley said the city would be able to find out how much funding would be necessary to expand Mt. Pleasant’s water supply. If the well were very productive, less funding would be needed and treating current water would be unnecessary.

By the same token, if the well were not as productive, then more funding would be needed to build a new treatment plant.

The council approved a motion directing Worley and Sunrise to continue their efforts and to gather bids to drill test wells.

In other discussion, Mayor David Blackham called on Monte Bona, a former councilman who now does administrative work for the city, for an update on the aquatic center.

Bona informed the council that an application to the CIB  for site work around the new pool had been denied. However, the Eccles Foundation had approved an $80,000 grant for aquatics center. Between the grant and funds on hand, there would be enough to do all of the site work, Bona said.

Mayor Blackham mentioned that the site plan may have to be modified. The current plans call for a park to be created adjacent to the pool, but that may leave the facility without enough parking.

“Parking may become an aggravating issue” the mayor said, noting that the church next door did not like splash pad users parking in the its parking lot.

Bona said site plans could be easily modified to create more parking. He also brought up the possibility of using parking not at the site, such as at the recreation center.

Councilman Dan Anderson asked why there was no digging at the site. Blackham said the city was only waiting on the contractor. Councilman Justin Atkinson later confirmed that digging would began the next day, March 15.

On another topic, Bona updated the city council, which also services as the advisory board to the Community Development and Renewal Agency (CRDA), on various pojects.

A developer wants to list the airport with the state as an active airport. His idea is to develop houses on the airstrip with attached garages capable of holding private planes.

Developers who have contacted the city and the North Sanpete School Board regarding the old elementary school have run into difficulty with plans for the building. The developers cannot find a way to retro-fit the building so as to their project financially viable. According to Bona, “The numbers don’t work.”

In 2003, the city received a Preserve America Great grant. The city used the grant funds to create entry signs on the north and south city boundaries, for a mural in the foyer of the library, and for a sign showing the map of the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area (MPNHA), which is on the front lawn of the library.

Bona said creation and display of the MPNHA map was a condition of the grant. Recently, the library asked the CRDA to move the map to a different location. The CRDA advisory board voted to leave the sign in its current location.