PRWID Considers Water System Study Proposal
|The PRIWID water treatment plant in Price Canyon would be part of the proposed study.|
A proposed study of the infrastructure of the Price River Water Improvement District gained momentum after the staff presented a scope of work document to the board at a meeting on Jan. 18.
"Last fall, we talked about doing a water study," explained Phil Palmer, district manager. "The reason for that idea is because, since 1978, we have had 10 to 15 new projects come on line, we have absorbed a number of smaller water companies, and we need to see how that all fits together. We need a study on the entire water distribution system."
The study would solve a number of problems that the staff faces constantly about decisions that need to be made, added Palmer. PRWID has changed since the late 1970s. At that time, the district was primarily a wholesale operation. Today, PRWID handles more retail business.
The three-page scope of study document not only suggested the district look at future trends for water use in the county, but at how the trends will affect PRWID and the sytem's infrastructure.
At present, the district's water sales impact slighly less than 10,000 people. But should there be growth in the county and the number exceeds 10,000, new federal rules kick in as to how water must be treated and handled. Officials indicate that could impact operations and require more facilities and costs.
The scope document included nine sections of concerns. The items included:
Water demand. This part of the study would be based on recorded data, what the population projections for the county is and what future water demands might be. As a side light to this, the state of Utah released projection figures for population growth in the state on Tuesday and Carbon is projected to grow only about .6 percent in population between now and 2050. If those figures held up that would mean aa growth of around 1200 people in the county and depending on where they live that could increase the districts distribution past the 10,000 mark.
Water supply. This section would look at the water rights owned by PRWID, determine the future needs, review the possibility of leasing or exchanging for more water rights and the concept of reusing treated water from the wastewater plant for certain purposes.
A study of the water treatment system. This part of the study would look a present infrastructure, would determine improvements that would need to be made for future growth and to also look at what maximum flows could be established to certain entities within the county. It would also examine the treatment plant for efficiency as well as for improvements. The study would also look at the agreements PRWID has with various entities concerning water lease agreements.
The study would also examine the entire distribution system that PRWID operates in the county. Within the study would be a physical inspection of the system. This part of the study would help to map out the system and identify problems as well as materials that have been used to build the system over the years, it would identify pressure zones and denote what those pressure zones are capable of delivering based on future needs, and it would also look at what areas might need to be expanded for the future.
Regulations. The study would look at what the district would have to change should they exceed the 10,000 population service mark, it would study the water exchange agreements with various entities, and would look at the requirements and changing scenarios concerning discharge water from the plant into the Price River.
Capital improvements. The study would examine all capital improvements that might be needed for the water treatment plant as well as the transmission and distribution system.
GIS mapping. The study would also look at updating the maps for the district which now could be done with geographical information provide by GIS systems. This would make them much more accurate than they presently are, particularly in the areas where old lines of smaller previously absorbed water companies exist.
Palmer said that to fund such a study the district could look at various sources including the community impact board.
After reviewing the document the board decided that it would be good to have a work meeting dedicated to the scope of work in the near future.
The board also agreed to a proposal to increase water rates in a neighborhood where water is supplied to PRWID customers from Wellington City. The so-called "Outsiders Water Company" consists of a handful of customers who pay the district for their water, but that water is delivered to the districts lines through Wellington City's infrastructure. The board voted to charge $35 per month for basic water service, $3.47 per month for a retail operations and maintenance fee and usage rates of $12 per thousand gallons. The average use in the area is about 8,000 gallons per month so the common bill will be $50.47 per month to those customers.
The board also examined what it needs to do to rectify the oversight concerning water overage charges that was discovered while investigating an outstanding bill for services that Wellington City owes the district. During the examination it was learned that when water rates were revamped a few years ago, the district forgot to carry over a change they made in 1996 which included an overage fee of $2 per thousand gallons. Instead when the new rates were put in the system reverted to a charge of $1.16 per thousand. In addition they also discussed what to do about charging for emergency water, such as was provided to Helper City last year when their main water transmission line was down. Suggestions for both ranged from going back to the 1996 approved rate of $2 to establishing a new and different rate for each scenario. The board directed the staff to report back at the next meeting with different scenarios on what could be done.
"Any changes we make in water rates would require a public hearing," Palmer reminded the board. "Even the change in the overage rate would require that."
The board also approved the purchase of a compacting wheel for the backhoe at the cost of $3595 from Century Equipment of Salt Lake. At the same time they also told staff to advertise for sealed bids on the purchase of a new dump truck for the district.