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Sandy Journal

When It Rains, It Pours

Feb 27, 2015 02:23PM ● By Bryan Scott
Crews will be doing some additional upgrading of some of the city’s water lines after some recent water main breaks.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 28, commuters were met with two aquatic surprises as they made their way to I-15.

The first break, near 150 West (Monroe Street) and 9000 South, was a 7-foot break in a section of pipe that was nearly 35 years old. 

At that time, the city had different standards and used iron pipe. Since then, city officials have learned that the soil on the west side of the city is more corrosive, presenting an unfavorable condition for iron pipe.

Traffic was diverted and some of the road had to be removed. The Public Utilities Department repaired the pipe the day of the break, and Public Works had the road repaired the following day.

City officials stated that this break was in a category that they refer to as “natural causes.”

The city has since modified the standard and is replacing the pipe. Currently, 99 percent of the pipe in the ground is iron.

“We are aware of the issue and are systematically replacing the iron pipe with new plastic pipe,” Assistant Public Utilities Director Scott Ellis said. “The new standards take into account that the western side of the city has more corrosive soil than the eastern side of the city. In the western side of the city, we use plastic pipe, and on the eastern side, we use iron pipe with plastic wrapping to provide a longer life span.”

After the initial break, a pressure regulating valve that was designed to open for high demand operated as it should have. However, once the leak was shut off, the valve should have closed but it malfunctioned and did not close. This caused a smaller secondary break at 8300 South State Street.

Again, there was damage to the street.

The Public Works Department took action immediately and both breaks were fixed and service was returned to normal by 5 p.m. the same day, with the roads being repaired by 5 p.m. the following day.

They replaced the section of damaged pipe, the whole of which will be completely replaced in a phased-in project.   

Preventive Measures

Since Sandy City’s change in water pipe standards, the Public Works Department has completed four projects as a preventive measure to limit events like this in the future.

The first project in 2013 from 9000 South to about 9800 South (running south on 500 West) replaced about 5,000 feet of the iron pipe with PVC pipe at a cost of $950,000. It was completed by Spade Construction.

That same year,  Cop Constructions  replaced pipe on a smaller project that ran west down 9000 South from 500 West to about 700 West, with a combination of PVC pipe and HDPE pipe. It included about 1,500 feet of pipe and cost about $440,000.

Last year, Newman Construction replaced about 5,000 feet of ductile iron pipe with fusible HDPE pipe, from 9000 South 500 West, to the north and west about to the Midvale border. It cost about $1 million.

A fourth project, completed by Noland and Sons, created a third east-west connection under the freeway. It was about 800 feet of PVC and cost about $424,000.