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Springville council approves pipeline project

SPRINGVILLE — A massive, pressurized water pipeline planned to run the full length under 400 East received the blessing of the Springville City Council on Tuesday.

However, the Central Utah Water Conservancy District won't accept liability for the 60-inch pipeline should it ever fail.

"This is a federal project, and the federal government never accepts liability," said Don Christiansen, district director.

Liability was a key issue for council members as they accepted the contract. However, the motion by Councilman Dean Olsen said the water conservancy district agreed to use its best efforts to respond if the pipeline failed.

Digging the trench for the concrete-clad, flexible-steel pipeline could start as early as November and take a year to complete.

Called the Springville Reach, the Spanish Fork-Provo Reservoir Canal Pipeline is also going through neighboring Mapleton on its way to deliver Strawberry Reservoir water to the Salt Lake area as part of the Central Utah Project Completion Act.

The water originates in the Uinta Mountains and would normally make its way to the Colorado River. From the Strawberry Reservoir, it passes through the Syar Tunnel and travels down a massive Diamond Fork Canyon pipeline to Utah County.

Some 30,000 acre feet of water remains in south Utah County, with one-sixth of it going to Springville. Another 30,000 acre feet is contracted to go to Salt Lake.

Going through Utah Valley is the only way the water district can get the water there, Christiansen said.

As part of the contract, the Central Utah Water Conservancy District must install 10,000 feet of curb and gutter along 400 East where it doesn't now exist.

Safety is a chief concern, said Lee Wimmer, project program and construction manager.

"If there's a safety issue, (the pipeline) is shut down immediately," Wimmer said.

However, an emergency action plan isn't yet in place. The water conservancy district will write that after the pipeline is built, he said. It could take as long as an hour to close the valves — 30 minutes to respond and 30 minutes to shut it down, Wimmer said.

Councilman Neil Strong noted that if the pipeline ever failed, the water would rush toward Hobble Creek. Wimmer said the creek could handle the increased flow.

e-mail: rodger@desnews.com