City officials say they're hoping matching federal funds will go toward paying some long-awaited and much-needed water system improvements.

The City Council recently approved a request from the water department for Community Development Block Grants, which are funded by the federal government and administered by the state, asking for grant moneys to replace a critical section of piping leading from one of Springville's water sources to its storage tanks.Water Superintendent Bert Oakey said he asked for sections of the pinstock pipe - which can be used as both a culinary water line and for use in electrical production by turbine engines - to be replaced as early as three years ago, though the city hasn't had quite enough funding to get the project completed.

The line replacement "has been in our capital improvements file for awhile now because we haven't been able to get to it," Oakey said. "The line really isn't in too good of shape in a few places, and it's needed some work for quite some time."

Oakey said he has also requested that the line be oversized to provide adequate capacity to carry water from additional sources, since the city is drilling a new well and looking at adding a secondary irrigation system in the industrial park.

Three springs - Bartholomew Spring, Spring Creek and Jerk Springs - currently serve the city's culinary water needs, with the latter supplying the storage tanks and reserves. Other existing water sources may become available, including another spring in Bartholomew Canyon, so the project could coincide with the purchase of those rights.

Preliminary engineering, including a rough cost estimate and a master plan for the entire culinary water system, has started on the project, and Oakey said he will have the formal application finished before Nov. 12.

Council members are hoping the CDBG funds will pay as much as 60 percent of the project, though no real cost estimates have as yet been performed, Oakey said. The remainder of the cost for the project would come from both water department reserves and from the city's capital improvement funds.

The council chose the water project over two others in consideration for the block grants - the connection of another storm drain into an existing drain on the city's east side and the construction of senior citizens housing, City Recorder Richard Manning said.