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Richmond looking at major improvements to city water system

February 17th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Kate Rouse

RICHMOND–Discussions on the new 2-million gallon water tank and other improvements to the city’s existing water system continued at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

“It’s important that people understand it’s not just a water tank we’re talking about,” Councilman Brad Jensen said at the meeting, “these are water system upgrades.”

A few years ago, council members realized the city’s two existing water tanks would not be enough to comply with state fire flow regulations. In other words, if there was a major fire, the existing water system might not be able to generate enough pressure. Plans are underway to build a new water tank at the mouth of Cherry Creek Canyon.

Jensen said the council is looking at other improvements, in addition to the new tank, to address water pressure issues and improve the city’s entire water system. He said that other than the tank, additional projects will still need to be approved by the council and public hearings will be held throughout the next several months.

Additional water projects include equalizing water pressure by “looping” water lines around a block instead of ending them abruptly, increasing the size of some water lines, building pressure-reducing valves and developing Cherry Creek well to meet drinking water standards.

“You have to be proactive and address your infrastructure before it becomes an emergency situation,” Jensen said after the meeting. “Regardless if another home is built in Richmond, we need to make these improvements. We’re not paying for development, we’re paying for existing deficiencies.”

City Engineer Darek Kimball said that most of the city water systems in Cache Valley were built in the 1950s, and while the engineering was up to par for the time, “standards have changed,” he said. “You don’t buy a Maverick and never change the oil and put new tires on it. You have to maintain everything or it’ll wear out.”

While the new tank is required, Jensen said the additional water projects will depend on the amount of funding available. A public hearing was held Tuesday on the possibility of appealing to the Permanent Community Impact Fund Board (CIB) for money to build the tank and make other needed improvements to the system.

“The input that we receive from public hearings will determine the scope of the project,” Jensen said. “If there are monies available, this is the perfect time to make system improvements–we’re investigating all sources of funding right now.”

City Manager Marlowe Adkins said in the meeting that excess funds from certain energy-rich, money-making counties in Utah can be placed in the Permanent Community Impact Fund and loaned out to other counties for improvement and maintenance projects. Adkins said Richmond may qualify for one of these low-interest loans, but it’s up to the board to decide.

Although Jensen said it’s too early to talk about how much water rates may increase, a loan from the CIB could save Richmond residents a lot of money. There were no complaints from the public about pursuing a loan from the fund.

In other business, City Recorder Justin Lewis said that, in accordance with the Financial Transparency Law, Richmond is working to make all financial records from July 1, 2009 to June 20, 2010 viewable and available to the public by May 1 of this

Lewis said that, according to the 2010 law, “We have to post every transaction that involves money on the Internet. If (a city’s) beginning or ending budget is over $1 million, it must be done by May 1.”

After May 1, the city will continue to post financial information in three-month increments to stay current, Lewis said. The information will be available on a state-sponsored website that Lewis said will link to the state’s main website.


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