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Work is finally under way on Draper's new 1 million-gallon underground water tank.

The tank, on Traverse Road (1500 E. 150 South) in the Corner Canyon community, will provide culinary water to the South Mountain, Centennial and U.S. General subdivisions. City Manager Dave Campbell said the tank will also increase Draper's firefighting capability.Construction on the long-anticipated tank began two weeks ago. Cement flooring was to have been poured Friday, with developers from the three planned communities financing the $646,000 tank. Draper will reimburse those developers over a period of 10 years with $1,100 for every online connection.

Some 2,450 homes are planned for these booming eastside communities.

"This has been a difficult project to negotiate because of three developers paying our costs up front," said Campbell, who is still negotiating reimbursement agreements with Draper-based South Mountain LC and Murray-based U.S. General. Traverse Ranch LC, the company building the 350- to 400-home Centennial Project, has already signed its agreement. The City Council is expected to approve the agreement at its June 18 meeting.

"We're moving forward in a timely manner," Campbell said. "We've known for some time - more than a year - that we'd need this facility."

The subterranean tank, which Draper deemed "more aesthically pleasing" than an above-ground tank, will serve double duty by keeping cooler the water pumped in from the Salt Lake Water Conservancy District in the summer months. The project is scheduled for completion in late September, Campbell said.

Terry Diehl, a principal at South Mountain LC, noted that the project is more significant for Centennial and U.S. General developers because "they needed it (built) on our site." South Mountain, which has constructed 800 homes, expects to complete its 1,700-home subdivision by the year 2000. The company donated three of its 240-acres to the project.

The new water tank has been carved from the side of the Point of the Mountain. After being recovered with earth, it will be landscaped and used in concert with the newly completed Minuteman Drive pump station, Campbell said.