Grassy Trail Reservoir may be on its way to a new location as the the project was given the green light, according to Sunnyside City Mayor Doug Parsons.
The reservoir project was discussed at the Sunnyside City Council meeting on Tuesday night as Parsons and other city councilors heard for the first time that the project has been green-lighted for work to begin in the near future.
A feasibility study was recently conducted with both Sunnyside and East Carbon City. Results of the study were unavailable and UtahAmerican representatives did not respond to an e-mail for comments.
Warren Monroe, a senior construction manager with Jones and DeMille Engineering, said at an ECC council meeting last month that the water rights were still there for the two cities and that they needed to show proof of beneficial use of the water to the Division of Water Quality. The Division of Water Rights wants to see a long range plan put into place, since the 50 year proof period has passed, he said.
The project has been moving very quickly over the past two months, Parsons said.
"Things have been moving very fast since January," Parsons said. "It's an important project for the area and I think that it will be a positive for the entire community."
Grassy Trail Reservoir is currently dealing with a number of problems, Parsons said. Some of these include a high amount of silt at the reservoir and areas where the reservoir is leaking.
The project would not only include the building of a new reservoir but the impact of the project could also extend the life of West Ridge Mine by 18 months to two years. UtahAmerican Energy Inc. has been in discussions with local municipalities about redirecting Grassy Trail creek to a new location where a reservoir would be built. If nothing was done the mine would have about two years of mining left.
UtahAmerican is seeing if it is feasible to move Grassy Trail creek from its present location to a couple of different areas they have looked at. One of the areas that has been discussed is Little Bear Canyon which sits on school trust lands.
If the land is acquired from the school trust, then UtahAmerican would deed the property over to both Sunnyside and East Carbon City. Sunnyside City, Sunnyside Co-Generation and East Carbon City have all been involved in the project, Parsons said.
Parsons said at a meeting in January that Carbon County has already agreed to give UtahAmerican a right-of-way for a pipeline that would go from Grassy Trail Reservoir to the new site. The financing for the project will all come from UtahAmerican at a cost of about $15 million.
Four bore holes have been drilled in Little Bear Canyon to make sure that there is no fractures in the ground so it can be prepared for a dam site. The road crossing through Sunnyside LLC leading up to Little Bear is classified as a County Class D road.
If the new reservoir is created, no changes would be done to the current water treatment plant, Parsons said.
Currently Grassy Trail Reservoir has about 800 square acres of capacity. If the reservoir is built the capacity would be increased to about 1,000 square acres.
Sunnyside city council and UtahAmerican are in agreement that the current reservoir is in need of repairs. UtahAmerican and the local area would stand to gain from the project as UtahAmerican would increase the recovery of coal reserves in the vicinity near the reservoir and the area would benefit from the possible increase in job opportunities.