Some Ogden residents frustrated with low water pressure

Published: Monday, July 22 2013 7:56 p.m. MDT

OGDEN — Ogden is responding to unhappy residents in Ogden Canyon, who say their water pressure waned to a trickle at times following the installation of a new water line.

Some homeowners complained after seeing very low flows out of faucets, shower heads and garden hoses.

“As you can see, the pressure is not normal,” Julie Jensen said Monday, holding up her hose. Going “full blast,” water appeared to be pouring out of the hose at a moderate rate.

Jensen said she has been dealing with the low pressure since she and her daughter, Katie Kelley, moved in a month ago. “If this is normal, it’s not up to standards by any means,” she said.

Kelley said the water pressure was worse inside the house.

“When you’re trying to take a shower, it’s not as good,” Kelley said. “It doesn’t rinse your hair as good.”

Ogden water utility manager Kenton Moffett said the city was working to sort out the concerns of homeowners following the $8 million project. Some of the very-low water pressure cases, he suggested, may have been due to air pockets.

Moffett said the city’s recent measurements of water pressure have recorded levels normal to the canyon area.

“We’ve been checking the pressure at our connections to make sure it’s adequate from what it was consistently historically, and we’ve found that that’s generally the case,” Moffett said, adding that water pressure has always been an issue in the canyon.

Low pressure is something Dwaine Harrington has observed since he started living in the canyon during summers 10 years ago.

“It’s never been strong,” Harrington said. “We have two pressure pumps — one for the sprinkler system and one for the house. It’s been sufficient, but a lot of water pressure — we’ve never experienced that.”

Harrington said the new water line resulted in even lower pressure.

“We lost the pressure,” Harrington said. “My sprinkler system was nonfunctional. Even with my pressure pumps — they just don’t work — so I had to hand-water the lawn to keep it from burning out. But it really lost a lot of the pressure.”

Moffett said the historical low water pressure will be fixed when the city completes a rebuild of the filter plant at the top of the canyon. The project, he said, is in the process of gaining approval from the City Council.

When approved, Moffett said the plan after the rebuild ultimately would be to boost pressure by 45 pounds per square inch, something not achievable under the previous 100-year-old line.

About two-thirds of the city’s water comes through the line. Moffett said the old line was losing 1 million gallons of water per day through leaks. “If that pipe had broken, as old is it was, they wouldn’t have had any water,” he said.

Ogden Deputy Fire Chief Eric Bauman said water pressure has never been an issue fighting fires in the canyon, but the number of available hydrants has been. It has forced crews at times to draw water from the river.

Bauman said crews now have a significantly higher number of hydrants available to them, boosting safety in Ogden Canyon.

Moffett said he appreciates the patience of residents, and said crews will continue to assist them with troubles. “We’re concerned that they’re not getting the pressure that they need, so we’re trying to fix that problem,” he said.

Email: aadams@deseretnews.com

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