EPHRAIM— Ephraim will receive $1.2 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) passed early in the Biden administration and will combine the money with other grants to do $12 million in culinary water improvements.
Bryan Kimball, director of community development, announced the ARPA funding at a city council meeting last Wednesday, Dec. 1. The city will be required to put up a 5 percent match, or $60,000, to qualify for the $1.2 million.
ARPA was one of two major COVID-19 relief bills. The measure, passed in March 2021, essentially extended the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed during the Trump administration. The act predated the recently passed infrastructure bill.
Kimball told the council the ARPA funds will be a boon to the growing city. Ephraim will use the funds to cover part of the cost of converting an existing agricultural well it purchased a few years ago to a culinary well.
The ARPA funds will help pay for the conversion, a new pump house and connection into the city drinking water system, along with engineering and environmental work and state-permitting documents.
Kimball reported that all well drillers are scheduled months out on new work, and current supply chain issues may cause additional delays. “We are hopeful to have the newly converted well in operation in less than a year,” he said.
When complete, the combination of a new well completed last summer, converting the agricultural well, and repairs on an old well that broke down in 2018, will add 3.3 million gallons per day to the city’s culinary water supply. That represents doubling of the supply in less than five years.
The council approved a work order with Franson Engineering to cover engineering on the agricultural well. The ARPA funding will cover those engineering costs.
The city had previously obtained a $2 million grant (with a 25 percent match) from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Kimball reported that amount had been increased to $7.9 million, based on the city’s recently completed water master plan, which identified deficiencies across the system.
The Army Corps grant will be applied across several phases over the next six to eight years, he said. The project will cover replacement of old/aging pipes in town and in Ephraim Canyon, along with pressure zone improvements, an emergency bypass for upper pressure zones and additional work related to the agricultural well.
Finally, still another federal grant funding of up to $3 million is possible (but not yet finalized) to complete the remaining pipe replacement in Ephraim Canyon.
“These grants were made possible because of the preliminary leg work we’ve done the last several years to position ourselves with careful planning,” Kimball said. “We’ve purchased water rights and property to accommodate future wells, we’ve updated the master plan, [and] we’ve been working with agencies and entities to position ourselves for available funding.”
“When funding finally became available, we were in a perfect position to pursue that funding and be awarded [the funding]. When complete, this will provide safe, reliable drinking water for existing residents and will accommodate the growth we are anticipating for years to come.”