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Richmond needs new water tank so folks can shower and flush at the same time, council says

January 20th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Kate Rouse

RICHMOND–The city’s water tanks just aren’t cutting it anymore, City Council members said Tuesday at the first council meeting of the new year, as plans for a new 2 million-gallon water tank were discussed.

“Even if there is not one more new home built, we have to have this tank,” City Recorder Justin Lewis said.

Councilman Brad Jensen added that with or without added population growth in Richmond, there is already “a deficiency in the existing system.”

According to Jensen, Richmond’s two existing water tanks have provided enough water pressure for the city’s residents for many years, with water to spare in case of a major fire. But a few years ago, as the city’s population doubled over the past 40 years, the city knew it would need a new water tank and began looking at possible locations.

Jensen said one of the existing tanks has been serving the city for 15-20 years and the other has been around “forever and a day.” He said with the city growing, the council commissioned a study a couple of years ago to see if the current system would still be adequate, and suspicions were confirmed that it was not.

“We have plenty of water rights and water,” Jensen said, “it’s storage and flow. If everyone flushed the toilet at the same time and we had a fire, we wouldn’t have enough water in the tank.”

Jensen said there are other sources of water in case of an emergency, such as Cherry Creek, but the new water tank is needed to comply with government regulations and to make life better for the residents of Richmond. He said the water pressure is too low in some areas of the city and too high in others, and that a new tank and an improved system would equalize water pressure throughout.

“It’s an infrastructure improvement,” Jensen said. “It’s looking ahead to make sure we’re not putting anyone at risk and to improve residents’ lives. So you can take a shower and flush the toilet at the same time.”

Jensen said that the new tank will be located up Cherry Creek Canyon. The property borders Cache National Forest land and is located near some private residences, he said.

A family that lives next to the proposed site has expressed concern over the impact of the new tank and whether or not it will be an eyesore for them, Jensen said.

To minimize unsightliness, the proposed water tank would be mostly buried, and fenced off to comply with government regulations, City Engineer Darek Kimball said.

Jensen said the fence will probably be the most visible part of the tank, but there are no final construction plans yet and there are still many decisions to be made.

“It’s not just a matter of constructing a new storage tank,” Jensen said. “The water model done by J-U-B Engineers includes several options to help equalize pressure, and depending on which option we choose, that would dictate the cost.”

Jensen said the new tank could cost anywhere from $2 million to $5 million, depending on the bids. He said the money for the proposed tank will come primarily from impact fees assessed when a new property is developed and the residence is hooked up to the system.

According to Councilwoman Terrie Wierenga, those fees then go into the capital improvement fund, which is used for urban development projects such as the proposed water tank.

Money for the tank will also come from monthly water bills, Jensen said, which for Richmond is $27 per household per month. He said water bills may go up, depending on what loans and grants the city can get for the new water tank.

Since the project is still in its beginning planning stages, Jensen didn’t know how much Richmond residents could expect their bills to increase. He said the recent $4.9 million sewage treatment plant completed last year resulted in around a $21 hike in the monthly sewer rate per household.

Public hearings on the proposed water tank will be held starting Feb. 15 at the city offices and all Richmond citizens are encouraged to attend.

City Manager Marlowe Adkins said that more information on the water tank will be provided in the next newsletter, The Richmond Record, which will be available on the city website, richmond-utah.com.


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