OGDEN — There are more than 350 miles of pipe carrying culinary water to residents and property owners in Ogden.
And officials say that in a city that was incorporated in 1851, keeping the aged system safe and functioning properly will take a lot of labor and a lot of money.
The Ogden City Council approved a new culinary water master plan Tuesday night, a measure that includes millions of dollars worth of water-related capital improvement projects recommended to be completed over the next 10 years.
“The biggest problem with the system is it’s old, it’s aging,” said Cliff Linford, with the city’s water contractor, Sunrise Engineering. “And it’s going to take a significant amount of dollars to keep it running.”
Linford said Ogden’s distribution system is one of the oldest in the state, though the majority of the city’s pipes are less than 70 years old with over 50 percent of them being installed between 1950 and 1980.
The plan recommends $41 million in system upgrades that should take place over the next five years. The list includes a $3.4 million rehabilitation of the storage tanks above 46th Street, a $6.8 million project to rehabilitate wells near the Ogden-Hinckley Airport and Pineview Reservoir and another $31 million for projects related to fire flow, pressure and pipeline leaks.
In the five years after that, an additional $39 million is recommended for fire flow, pressure and storage projects and to repair leaks.
Since Ogden’s last culinary water plan was adopted in 2012, Linford said projects completed during that time span — like the construction of a new water treatment plant, new storage facilities, a number of large transmission lines and patched leaks — have saved the city about 584 million gallons of water per year. The reclaimed water also saves about $1 million annually, Linford said.
In 2016, the council approved $17 million bond, which has been used to pay for a number those projects. The bond proceeds will also help fund pipe replacements in fiscal year 2019.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell said the issue of water conservation will continue to swell with Northern Utah’s growing population. According to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, Ogden’s population will exceed 105,000 by 2050. The U.S. Census Bureau now estimates the city’s population to be just over 87,000.
“A lot has been said about growth projections — what’s going to happen in the next 30 years with our doubling of the population,” said Caldwell. “Most of that has been in terms of transportation and how we move products and goods and people, but one of the things that doesn’t come up a lot is water.”