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Ogden leak, now going on three months, irks some as drought lingers

By Tim Vandenack - | Oct 29, 2021
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Water seeps from underground on property owned by the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District in Ogden on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. The facility sits off Old Post Road in southern Ogden.
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Water seeps from underground on property owned by the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District in Ogden on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. The facility sits off Old Post Road in southern Ogden.
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Water in the curb of Old Post Road from leaking in an underground pipe network managed by the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District in Ogden on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. The facility sits off Old Post Road in southern Ogden.

OGDEN — Since late last July, a steady stream of water has been flowing from a road leading into a Weber Basin Water Conservancy District water treatment facility in southern Ogden.

It’s caught the attention of many — particularly in light of the ongoing drought — including Terry Schow, who happened upon the leak late last July when using a nearby natural gas fueling station. The water flows from 4800 South, the road leading into the water conservancy district facility, to Old Post Road and then to a drain further north.

“This is ridiculous,” Schow said.

After he first came upon the leak, Schow, who lives in South Ogden, reported the leak to a local rep for U.S. Sen. Mike Lee as well as South Ogden officials, though the site of the seepage is actually in Ogden. After he traveled past the spot again earlier this month, he sent out a new round of messages.

“I had hoped the responsible folks would have fixed this water leak by now but when I drove by today, the water was still flowing down the gutter just as before almost three months later,” he wrote. “Surely something can be done. This is such a waste.”

Reps from the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District — who had pleaded for water conservation efforts from the public over the summer in light of the severe drought — didn’t immediately return a call Friday seeking comment. However, a worker from a nearby restaurant, Ligori’s, had something to say.

“Moss in the gutter, that’s how long it’s been running,” said Dave Birch, who, like Schow, said the flow has been a steady thing since the summer. That is, the presence of the nonstop flow of water has led to the development of a green, slimy, moss-like substance in the curb.

It particularly irks Birch in light of the drought and calls for the public to scale back on lawn watering.

“After all the water problems we’ve had, it’s never been fixed. You go look at my front yard, it’s brown,” Birch said. “Yeah, it made me mad.”

Brady Herd, Ogden’s public utilities manager, has fielded calls from the public on the leak and visited it himself. He’s also reached out to Weber Basin Water Conservancy District officials since the leak is coming from that entity’s property. “I know they’re aware of it,” Herd said.

Because the leak isn’t coming from the city’s water system, however, there’s not much he can do. It’s water conservancy district water and it’s coming from their water system.

Even so, Herd said the conservancy district isn’t immune from calls to conserve water to save the resource. “We would expect the same from them,” he said.

Herd isn’t sure of the cause of the leak. But it could be something that, to remedy, would require the shutting off of water to a big segment of the population, which could be why it has yet to be fixed.

The drought has caused the water level in Pineview Reservoir, among many other bodies of water in Utah, to dip dramatically. As such, officials from the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District and Pineview Water Systems as well as local elected leaders called on the public to scale back the watering of their lawns over the summer as a conservation move.

Restrictions remain in effect, at least in Ogden.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, most of Utah remains in extreme drought or exceptional drought conditions.

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