City will build treatment plant
BY MELINDA WILLIAMS
Clipper Staff Writer
WOODS CROSS — Woods Cross’ water may not be the dirty water of Boston’s Charles River, made famous in a 1960’s song, but it is contaminated.
To clean up four contaminated drinking water wells, the city council voted on Tuesday to build a treatment facility to remove PCE and other contaminants from the four water wells.
The $4 million facility could be online by spring of 2014.
It will be located on land the city owns near its public works shop and close to well number four, west of 1100 West and 2300 South, said Woods Cross City Manager Gary Uresk.
Only three councilmembers were present for the vote. Councilmembers Rick Earnshaw and Tamra Dayley were excused.
Councilmembers based their decision on input they received from residents at a series of open houses in March.
More than 85 percent of residents surveyed through the open houses and online said the city needed to treat the wells to remove the perchloroethylene (PCE), according to information presented by Josh Palmer of the Langdon Group.
Ninety-six percent of residents surveyed said the contamination was a problem.
The PCE is present because of contamination from a dry cleaning facility that closed decades ago at the current site of Shopko.
More than 90 percent of the city’s drinking water comes from groundwater wells. The city collects and tests samples from the wells on a regular basis, according to information provided by the city prior to the open houses.
That information indicates that in the four wells that tested positive for PCE, levels of the chemical were well within safety requirements.
City officials maintain the city’s water is still safe to drink.
About 80 percent of residents surveyed said addressing the contamination was a very high priority.
Nearly 55 percent said they would be willing to pay an additional $6-$10 month on their water bills, and another 25 percent said they wouldd be willing to pay as much as $11 to $15 per month to build the facility.
Councilmembers toured the PCE treatment plant operated by South Davis Sewer District early Tuesday evening before voting.
“The tour made me realize it’s not as complicated as I thought,” said councilwoman Jill Evans. “It helped me a lot.”
The city is looking at funding from a number of sources, including a grant from the state Drinking Water Board. Trevor Lindley, with JUB Engineering, said getting such a grant may be unlikely because the city hasn’t reached a hardship level.
The project will take about $3 million in capital revenue, another $250,00-$300,000 for the initial planning and approximately $500,000 in emergency funding, he told the city.
Woods Cross already has $500,000 in contingency funds set aside for another project that has been completed, and could use those excess funds for the initial planning and engineering, Uresk said.
Initial surveying could begin within a few weeks.