This article also appeared in Water Online.
With its red rock and steep cliffs and canyons, the terrain of Washington County, Utah, is breathtaking and is one of the most geologically diverse areas in the world. This location, however, also lends itself to drought. It is the driest county in the state, receiving only an estimated eight inches of rainfall a year in its major population centers. Compare this to other U.S. counties that receive an average of 39 inches of rainfall annually. Couple that with the fact that Washington County is the fastest growing county in Utah, with population growth expected to be 229% over the next 50 years, and you have the makings for a severe water shortage in the future.
The Washington County Water Conservancy District (WCWCD) knew something had to be done.
In December 2019, construction was completed on Phases A and B of the Sand Hollow Regional Pipeline Project, which was designed to deliver water from the wells near Sand Hollow Reservoir to the existing municipal water systems serving the southern areas of Washington and St. George. The two-phase estimated $16 million project increases system efficiency and security, and it decreases treatment and pumping costs. It improves water services for about 100,000 people in southern Utah.
“With this project, we were able to take water from the eastern side of the county and deliver it to southern portions to better serve growth,” said Todd Gardner, ALPHA Engineering project manager. Gardner said that the WCWCD considered using steel pipe and HDPE but ultimately choose ductile iron because of its longevity and ease of installation. The water district had also seen multiple failures with HDPE installed in its drinking water system over the past several years and were concerned with its use.
Dave Kent with Ferguson Waterworks said this project and the involvement among Ferguson, AMERICAN, ALPHA Engineering and the WCWCD were years in the making. Once the WCWCD learned the life cycle cost of ductile iron was in line with what the district wanted, the decision to specify ductile iron was clear. “This was easily the biggest job we’ve ever had in the area, and it was a fun project to work on,” Kent said. “AMERICAN was easy to work with and the people are amazing, from sales to project management to product engineering. I look forward to more projects in the future with the water district and with AMERICAN.”
“We opted to use ductile iron pipe given its competitive pricing and ease of installation. AMERICAN’s ability to deliver the pipe in a timely manner ensured our project was completed on time… It was a smooth process. It’s nice when your pipe and materials are not a concern during construction.” – WCWCD Project Manager Randy Johnson
According to WCWCD Project Manager Randy Johnson, installation was easier and faster with the 36-inch ductile iron pipe. “We opted to use ductile iron pipe given its competitive pricing and ease of installation. AMERICAN’s ability to deliver the pipe in a timely manner ensured our project was completed on time. We appreciate Matt Rosenwald and other members involved in transport logistics who worked with us to coordinate shipments while minimizing costs. It was a smooth process. It’s nice when your pipe and materials are not a concern during construction.”
Phase A of the project included the installation of almost 40,000 feet and Phase B more than 13,000 feet of 36-inch Fastite and Flex-Ring AMERICAN ductile iron pipe. All of the pipe were wrapped in a V-Bio polyethylene encasement. “The WCWCD decided to go with the V-Bio versus the standard wrap after a presentation from DIPRA representatives,” Gardner said. “They were impressed with the inhibitors within the V-Bio wrap that would prevent corrosion.”
For Tyson Feller, owner of Feller Enterprises, the contractor for the Sand Hollow Regional Pipeline, it was exciting to be a part of a project that was resolving a problem for the area. “Last year, we were working on a new park and experienced some water pressure issues during construction,” Feller said. “When we heard this line was going in, we knew it would bring more water into an area where it was needed.”
Phase A was in a more open or rural desert where red rock and steep cliffs were present. This meant blasting and excavation had to be done before the pipeline could be installed. In addition, changes in soil types, elevations, twists and turns had to be considered. Phase B was installed along city streets in a more developed area where the location of underground utilities had to be considered. “AMERICAN’s line drawings were quickly and accurately produced, and representatives were on-site monthly to ensure ongoing progress,” Gardner said.
Feller said, “AMERICAN spent two days with us to make sure everyone was comfortable with the pipe installation. Matt [Rosenwald] was there to answer any questions we had, and throughout the project, AMERICAN ensured the pipe was laid out and installed correctly. It would be an honor to work with this team again.”
The WCWCD is a wholesale water provider that supplies water to cities within Washington County. In 2019, the district delivered 16 billion gallons of water and installed 55,000 feet of new pipelines. To learn more about the WCWCD, visit https://www.wcwcd.org/.