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Front Page » March 17, 2011 » Carbon County News » Price thirsty for Emma Park pipe funds
Published 1,315 days ago

Price thirsty for Emma Park pipe funds


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By KEVIN SCANNELL
Sun Advocate reporter

Located deep beneath the soil at Emma Park is a resource Price City is looking to try and acquire more of: water. But drilling two thousand feet deep into the Earth for the possible cache of water may not be the biggest obstacle the city must overcome.

City officials have said the project is currently on schedule but are in the process of securing the funding necessary to bring the water to the city's treatment plant.

Last week Russell Seeley, Price City engineer, and Councilman Richard Tatton met with representatives from the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Resources Conservation Service to discuss options the city might have in getting federal funding for a pipeline from Emma Park to the water treatment plant. Seeley said the city presented a brief overview of the project to the representatives including what specifics the city has in mind for the job.

One of the possible plans for getting the water from Emma Park to the city's Water Treatment Plant includes installing a pipeline to bring the water through Sulphur Canyon to the plant. The distance between the drilling site at Emma Park and the water treatment plant is about 30,000 feet and a pipeline has a preliminary cost of about $3- to $3.5 million, according to Seeley.

The city has already put up about $2.9 million for drilling wells in the area which is being funded from the Community Impact Board with a combination of a grant and loan.

While no funding for the Emma Park project was presented to the city at the meeting, Tatton said one option for the city may be to ask the Environmental Protection Agency for funds.

For the project itself, nothing has been done at the moment, according to Seeley. The area in Emma Park where the city plans to drill wells is not fully accessible for crews and vehicles due to the conditions of the soil, especially with mud. Once conditions become more favorable, construction crews will go in and begin work. It is considered to be a big project for the city with a lot of pipeline to install but it's not something the city has never encountered before, he said.

"It's [the pipeline] definitely a doable project," Seeley said.

Currently the project is planned to have up to two different exploratory wells being drilled in the area. The award that was put up for bid stated that up to two eight inch diameter exploratory wells could be drilled. Depending upon the results gathered from the exploratory wells, up to two 12-inch or 16-inch production wells could then be drilled.

The project does have a deadline that must be adhered to. The state engineer with the water right has set a November deadline to show beneficial use.

The first part of the project will involve an exploratory well being drilled to examine what type of rock formations they will be drilling into and what kind of water they will find. The exploratory well will be a deciding factor as to what happens with the other well(s).

Depending upon what is found with the exploratory well, the city can go in two different directions with the pipe. If the soil and rock is solid, an uncased hole could be used, which is the cheaper of the two options. If the soil looks like it might collapse, then a cased hole would be an option the city could go with.

With the plans to drill down to a depth of 2,000 feet, one problem that can occur is with sand getting into the holes, slowly filling up the pipe.

This can cause a problem with the well losing a lot of its efficiency when producing water. There is the possibility that the first 1,000 feet of the well could be cased and the bottom 1,000 feet could be left alone.

The city has to drill 2,000 feet deep because the state water rights say that the city cannot take water from the top 700 feet.

Layne Christensen Company, a Mission Woods, Kan., based company, that specializes in non-oil field contract drilling and manufacturing, was awarded the contract to drill the well(s). Their water resources division offers a number of water-related services including hydrological studies, site selection, well design, drilling and well development, pump instillation and repair and maintenance, according to the company's website.

The Emma Park project is important to the city future including dealing with possible population growth in the area, having more water available in the event of drought and having another source of water in the event of a problem such as the algae bloom that affected the city a few months ago, Seeley said.

While the city is hoping to receive funding for the project, Tatton is hopeful that the city does not get into a situation where only one-third or one-half of the project is funded, leaving the possibility of having no funding to complete the final parts of the work.

Contracts for the easements where the city will drill exploratory well(s) are expected to be signed and completed by the end of the week, Tatton said.

If everything is successful with the project, the city could start to see water from Emma Park's well(s) in the mid-to-late summer, Seeley stated.

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