Blanding approves use of deep water wells

The City of Blanding will begin pumping water from the deep wells that go 2,000 feet below the city to the Navajo Sandstone.
The wells were installed several years ago. Preliminary testing indicates that the wells can provide for city water needs, but they have not been pumped for long periods of time. As a result, the full capacity of the wells is not known.
City Manager Jeremy Redd said the cost to pump water is approximately $120 per acre-foot of water. The pumps will run during off hours, sending water directly into the culinary system during the overnight hours.
The city may pump up to 400 acre-feet of water this year, at a cost of $48,000.
Redd recommended that the Council approve the pumping of the wells, suggesting the pumps should be exercised every few years, regardless of the surface water situation.
“This is the year that we drilled the wells for,” said Redd.
If a proposed 2014 budget is approved, the cost of city water is expected to rise $2 beginning in July, from $23 to $25 a month. It would increase revenue by $60,000 a year and help to pay the pumping costs.
The pumps will be expensive to eventually replace. A replacement pump is $20,000, with installation costs doubling that amount.
On May 1, there was 1,350 acre-feet of water in the city systems. Estimates are that about 1,000 acre-feet will enter the system by May 1, 2014.
It is estimated that 160 acre-feet of raw water will be used, in addition to 800 acre-feet of treated water and 500 acre-feet lost to evaporation and seepage.
If 400 acre-feet is pumped from the deep wells, it would leave about the same amount on May 1, 2014 as on May 1, 2013.
In other matters, the city reports that the White Mesa uranium mill has used 580 of the 700 acre-feet of water it purchased from the city. The water may be used by June 1.
A $500 contribution to the Dinosaur Museum was defeated by a 3-2 vote. Councilman Kelly Laws motioned to make a one-time $500 donation to the museum to help with improvements.
Councilman Robert Ogle said such contributions are “not what this Council is supposed to do.”
Ogle, Charlie Taylor and Joe B. Lyman voted against the motion. The council agreed to write a letter of support for the Museum to seek funds from the Blanding Area Travel Council.
The council approved a number of contracts, including for a mineral bond seal coat project to Holbrook Asphalt for $105,400. The project will be paid through transportation district funds and C Road money.
City officials said the project will require public involvement and cooperation. Residents cannot drive on the seal coat for eight hours after it is put on the roads.
A project to replace sewer main for eight blocks from the college to the south part of the city was awarded to Silver Spur for $490,152. The Community Impact Board awarded a 1.5 percent interest loan to assist in the project. A federal grant contributes $60,000. Silver Spur is the only bidder for the project, which should be complete this summer.
A contract to crack seal, fog coat and remark the Blanding Airport is awarded to Straight Strike Construction for $120,845.
The city will develop new specifications for electrical conduit into new residential buildings.
Tom Palmer, of Four Corners Electric, said the city recently changed the requirement from two-inch conduit to three-inch conduit. Palmer estimates that the change can double the cost of the work. He is working on four homes that were bid using the two-inch conduit.
City officials said they are following the recommendations of Rocky Mountain Power. The council directed the city to develop specifications and told Palmer he could finish his existing projects.
The Council will also address the impact to roads that are used to store construction materials. Several projects have caused damage to city streets because gravel or other building materials were stored there during the construction phase.
The city will adjust contracts on projects and building permits to restrict dumping construction materials on city streets.

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