TREMONTON – By Marcia Wendorf – Feb. 19, 2020
It's no surprise that Tremonton City is growing, and that new homes are being built to keep up with demand. But this new growth has placed a burden on the city's culinary water system.
During the summer 2019 months of July and Aug., 70% of Tremonton's water went to irrigating resident’s lawns and gardens, according to the city’s Secondary Water web page (http://tremontoncity.org/secondary-water/).
Finding new sources of water has proved difficult for Tremonton.
Between 2011 and 2017, the state of Utah placed a moratorium on the issuance of new water rights and the drilling of new wells while it studied the Malad-Lower Bear River Basin area.
The results of that study, (https://www.waterrights.utah.gov/meetinfo/m20180110/MaladPolicySigned.pdf)
which were released in 2018, showed that any new wells dug in Tremonton could potentially have a negative impact on existing wells, causing them to produce less water. Also, there is no guarantee that a new Tremonton well would produce significant amounts of water, according to the study.
Tremonton City’s Secondary Water FAQ sheet, (http://tremontoncity.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Secondary-Water-Question-and-Answer-Sheet-March-20-2019.pdf) states that during July and August 2019, the Tremonton City culinary water system was almost at capacity.
To address this problem, in January 2019, the city council approved a secondary water, or pressurized irrigation, system for outdoor watering.
By separating irrigation water from culinary water, three homes can be added to Tremonton's culinary water system with the same impact as just a single home without a secondary water system.
The secondary water will be pumped from three major canals that run through Tremonton City, and it will be pressurized underground. The canals are owned by the Bear River Canal Company, and Tremonton City has purchased shares of this water.
The water in the canals comes from the Bear River at Cutler Dam and makes its way to Tremonton through a series of open canals. It may include runoff from irrigated fields, which adds silts to the water.
The secondary water will make its way to properties through a one inch "lateral" pipe that will be stubbed to each property. The Bear River Canal Company will provide water each year beginning in the first week of May, and ceases service during the first week in November. The amount of water available will be determined by the snowpack, reservoir levels, drought and weather.
Tremonton City has designated 12 secondary water service areas, and in March 2019, it approved construction of the system in Service Area 3. This area encompasses homes from Main Street on the north to 1200 S. on the south and the Central Canal on the east to 1000 W. on the west.
Attached to the end of this article is a map of that area.
Secondary water connections will be stubbed to the park strip, which is the area between the sidewalk and the curb. The city estimates that most property owners will need approximately 50 feet of pipe to connect to their sprinkler system. At $1.50 per foot, this translates to a cost of between $75 and $100.
Residents will now have two water meters, one for culinary and one for secondary water. Each year from November through April, all property owners will pay the “culinary rate.” Those without secondary water will continue to pay the “culinary rate” from May through October as well.
For owners with access to secondary water, they will be on either the “secondary rate” or the “culinary with secondary rate” from May through October each year. Everyone with access to secondary water will be required to pay the secondary rate base fee of $10 each month from May through October regardless of whether they use the secondary water or not.
Attached to the end of this article is a copy of those rates.
Because the water in the secondary water system contains silts, it is recommended that users install a filter on their sprinkler system. Filters can cost between $20 and $250.
The two types of sprinkler heads that are recommended for use with the secondary water system are the impact and the rotating stream types. Impact heads typically cost $15 to $25, while rotating heads are around $8.
Finally, residents will not be able to use a swing joint to switch between culinary and secondary water on their sprinkler system. This can contaminate the culinary water system and create a serious health hazard.
If you have questions about the new secondary water system, you can call the Tremonton City offices at (435) 257-9500 or (435) 257-9471.