Gas company approaches Sunnyside to discuss Questar pipeline water fees
|Questar crews continue to build the pipeline in the Tavaputs area. The water the company has been using from the Grassy Trail Reservoir was an issue at the Sunnyside Council meeting on Tuesday.|
On Aug. 7, Questar right of way consultant Tim Blackham approached Sunnyside officials about the city's charges for providing water for the company's pipeline in Soldier Summit.
Blackham was in attendance at the regularly scheduled council meeting to discuss water use by the natural gas company in Questar's effort to lay a pipeline from an existing line in Soldier Summit, across the Tavaputs Plateau and into an existing line in Uintah County.
Questar had been using water from the Grassy Trail Reservoir to aid in the company's construction of a right of way passage for the pipeline as it ran across the Tavaputs plateau.
Use of the reservoir's water was halted by Sunnyside officials on July 16 due to noticeable drainage from the city's chief water supply.
"We are seeing the reservoir drop at nearly an inch a day," said Mayor Bruce Andrews at a council meeting prior to the water restriction. "And I have seen those trucks coming back and forth all day long, I just don't think we have enough water to continue to supply this pipeline."
According to Blackham, Questar used approximately 564,000 gallons of water during a 17-day period from early June until July 16.
"The simple fact is that we need water for our operation," said Blackham. "We have found another source and I would like to tell you that we are grateful for the use of your water."
The new pipeline will specifically loop an existing line installed 40 years ago, part of which runs through Nine Mile Canyon, an area containing numerous Native American rock art sites.
The gas company reports that due to the sensitive nature of this area the pipeline right of way was moved north.
Blackham further went on to explain the importance of water to his project.
"You can't weld in the dust, and because of strict environmental regulation you can't build anything without constant dust control," stated Blackham.
According to the Questar representative, construction for the project which will lay 60 miles of 24 inch high pressure steel line is right on schedule.
"We have had a little trouble getting welders but aside from that things are moving along at a good pace." Continued Blackham.
During the meeting Sunnyside representative voted in a unanimous decision to raise the citys commercial water rates. According to city officials the increased rates now match what the local Price River Water Improvement District is charging for water use.
Under the new resolution charges will be:
$1.50 per thousand gallons for 0-20,000 gallons
$2.00 per thousand gallons for 20,001-60,000 gallons
$2.50 per thousand gallons for 60,001-70,000 gallons
$3.00 per thousand gallons for 70,001-350,000 gallons
$3.50 for every thousand gallons over 350,000
After concluding formal action to raise water rates the Questar representative inquired as to whether the small municipality would be willing to re-open the reservoir for commercial use by Questar.
"I would like to know if the water would still be available for us, even though I can't really see us moving our 10,000 gallon tank back into position to use that reservoir, but again thank you for allowing us access while you could" stated Blackham.
Mayor Andrews concluded by stating, "I don't really think we could make it available again this year, we just don't have enough water."