City resident Dan Shores told the council that he is concerned about the water situation, and particularly about sediment in the water lines.
Shores referenced a jar of water that contained water from the culinary line. The water was discolored and there was sediment that had settled to the bottom of the jar.
The problem is apparently caused when water is pumped from deep wells directly into the city culinary lines rather than through the treatment plant.
“For the money we have spent on a water treatment system, something is wrong to hear that the wells go straight into the water lines rather than to the treatment plant,” said Shores, who has been a Blanding resident for the past 22 years.
City officials acknowledged that the deep wells pump discolored water, with sediment, but added that the water is carefully tested and is pure.
The city drilled wells deep into the Navajo Formation about six years ago in order to secure a source of pure water during dry years.
The recent dry spell is the first time that the wells have operated.
“This is the first time we have cranked up the wells, so there has been a bit of a learning curve” said City Manager Jeremy Redd.
Redd said that the city needs to run the wells in order to exercise the system and to have water in dry years.
“We would all prefer clear water straight from the mountain,” said Redd. “But it is a blessing to have these wells during times just like now.”
The wells are often pumped overnight and on weekends because of the cost of electricity. “Electric rates are such that the wells run overnight and weekends,” explained Redd, who added that the timing of the pumping is purely a cost issue.
It would cost about $250,000 per well to add treatment capacity to the well water.
Officials stated that they have visited with Blue Mountain Hospital about the issue. The hospital needs additional treatment of the water for use in the dialysis treatments.
While testing is ongoing by the city, water samples from area homes can also be tested if individual residents have concerns.
The Council received a request to wave the rental fee at the Wellness Center for the June 7 Wellness Fair. The fair is organized by San Juan County and includes a number of area organizations. The request will be formally considered at a future meeting.
After a question from a resident, Police Chief Lyle Bayles reported that the police department has five full-time officers and two part-time officers. This is down one full-time employee from previous staffing levels.
Bayles said, “Could we use more people? Absolutely. “But,“ he added, “we are doing all right.”
City Engineer Terry Ekker provided a project status report, stating that the12-inch mountain line replacement project is substantially complete.
The 2014 waterline project bid opening is February 19. This project would install a new line from the water tank to 950 North, a new line from Pinion Ridge Road to Grayson Parkway, and a new line along South Main Street to the airport.
The Council approved a ten-year capital projects plan that outlines the expected city projects through 2024.
The city is considering a change in how they determine the rate paid for excess energy created from solar or wind power projects.
Three locations are currently metered for the energy generation, including the city visitor center, the city wellness center, and one private residence.
The Council approved a strongly-worded letter regarding National Park Service back-country management plan at Glen Canyon Recreation Area.
“I hope we are speaking for a lot of people who wouldn’t write a letter on their own,” said Councilman Joe B. Lyman, who developed the letter.
After discussing the concept for several months, the Council is ready to go to public hearing about a proposed policy regarding the size of shed that can be built on a property.
The current policy is based on the size of the home, which Councilman Lyman said may be unfair for owners of small homes.
Councilman Kelly Laws asked for a drawing that would show the minimal size. Lyman said a drawing should be ready for the public hearing, which will likely be held on February 24.