Reservoir testing: watch for heavy machinery in Round Valley
June 15, 2012
Heavy machinery will be sent into Round Valley early next week to dig test pits as waterworks officials continue to consider the expansive acreage as a site for a reservoir, a project they see as being needed as a means to boost the amount of water available to City Hall.
The Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, a water supplier, is overseeing the testing. City Hall is heavily involved. Clint McAffee, Park City’s water manager, said a backhoe will be used for the work. He said the digging is scheduled on Tuesday and Wednesday. The hours will be between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., but McAffee said there is a chance the work will not take the full amount of time.
Between six and 10 test pits will be dug. Each will be approximately 12 feet deep and rectangular in shape. They will be upward of two feet wide and 10 feet long, he said. The test pits will be refilled with earth immediately.
"It’s just a backhoe out in sage digging," McAffee said, adding that City Hall staffers will monitor the work.
No trail closures are planned, but the heavy machinery will be working close to trails at some of the dig sites, McAffee said.
Waterworks officials need to gather detailed information about the ground before the discussions about a reservoir advance. McAffee said the officials want to learn about the makeup of the soil and the depth of the bedrock.
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It will be six months before the viability of a reservoir at the location is better known, he said.
The test pits will be spread throughout a swath of Round Valley approximately three-quarters of a mile southeast of the Old Ranch Road trailhead. The land is under City Hall control and has been set aside as open space.
The Summit Land Conservancy, the not-for-profit group that enforces the conservation restrictions on the acreage, agreed to allow the upcoming digging since the pits will be refilled and the heavy machinery will be on the site for a short time.
City Hall and the Water Conservancy District are interested in building a reservoir in an effort to boost storage capacity. The water in the reservoir could be put into the system if there is a problem with another source. It could also be available in times of drought. Officials have said it would be another decade before a reservoir could be built.
The reservoir could inundate sections of three trails if it is built as outlined. A new trail could be built along the banks of the reservoir, though, City Hall has indicated. Officials desire not to reduce the overall mileage of trails in Round Valley if a reservoir is built.
Much of Park City’s water supply comes from underground sources, which are susceptible to naturally occurring contaminants. Leaders want a further diversified system that is not as reliant on the underground sources. A reservoir like the one under consideration in Round Valley would be a key advance toward that goal.