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City plans plant in Canyon Road Park

City plans 2,900 sf water treatment plant in Canyon Road Park

By Greater Avenues Community Council | The Agenda

The Greater Avenues Community Council has joined neighbors in protesting the city's plan to “upgrade” the 4th Avenue Well. The plan calls for a water treatment plant in the small mini-park that would be complete with chlorination and fluoridation capabilities. The building would be 995 square feet, the size of a small house.

Six large mature trees, including one sycamore that is 4 feet in diameter, will need to be cut down to allow for the fenced compound.

City officials say the water well provides 15% of the city's water and the present underground facility is unsafe for workers. If chemical treatment is provided the entire facility has to be above ground.

[Greater Avenues Community Council] Chairman Brian Berkelbach wrote in behalf of the board that "the byproduct of this project is the potential desecration of the gateway to city Creek and memory Grove.”

He said it is important that “we preserve the historical and cultural connection between the city center and City Creek which gave life to the city in its earliest day and continues to this day as a reverent and peaceful place.”

The chairman said “we would never alter Temple Square to such an extent, so why would we do it here?”

The well upgrade has been reviewed by the Historic Landmarks Commission and the verdict wasn't good. Commission members batted down the plans and told Public Utilities to try a new design.

The well was drilled in 1968 and is 464 feet deep. It provides clean, pristine water. Operating only in the summer, it serves downtown and north and west below the capitol. Its water does not serve the Canyon Road area which gets its water from City Creek at a much higher elevation.

Officials say the well, which has been trouble-free according to neighbors, needs an electrical upgrade and ventilation and if work is done on the electrical system the entire well must be brought up to standards set by the federal government.

The work is planned to take place the winter of 2019-2020 when the well can be taken off-line.

The building, housing everything but a large generator, is to be nearly 14 feet high. Neighbors have suggested off-site injection of treatment chemicals to minimize the necessity of such a large building in the small park.

For security, the entire compound will be surrounded by a 6-foot-high wrought iron fence with a rolling entrance gate on the Canyon Road side.

Jesse Stuart, Deputy Director of Public Utilities, told The Agenda that the plans circulated are essentially the first draft and that the well appearance may change.