Running water from this city's water system may again become a reality Saturday - if work is completed to install a new pump on the city's only well.
A new pump, flown to Salt Lake City from Portland, was picked up Friday by Mayor Alex Joseph and trucked to this community, located near the Arizona border.City Attorney Elizabeth Joseph, a wife of Alex Joseph, said repairmen were working to complete the job of installing a new pump so that the city's some 330 residents can have running water again.
Earlier this week she reviewed possible causes for the water stoppage. She said Friday evening the city "hasn't ruled out sabotage," noting that the city had spent a lot of money to install mechanisms apparently designed to cause the pump to shut itself off before burning out - "but all three mechanisms failed.
"It's a little coincidental that you have three independent tripping mechanisms fail."
Water in the city system stopped flowing earlier this week after a pump went out. Classes at Big Water School were canceled early Tuesday afternoon. Unless they were notified in time to store water, most residents were apparently without water until water was trucked to the community in a 10,000-gallon tanker from Page, Ariz., about 15 miles away. One shipment arrived Wednesday evening.
Water for flushing toilets became available in a separate 2,600-gallon truck, the attorney said.
If the company doing the work to install a new pump stays on its planned work schedule, "the casing will be removed tonight (Friday) and the new pump will be installed Saturday morning," Elizabeth Joseph explained Friday evening.
The defective pump is about 560 feet below the surface of the ground, she said.
In the larger tanker, water was treated with chlorine to safeguard residents' health, she said.
Elizabeth Joseph said the city has had complaints from only 32 of the city's residents.
"The other 300 people are being very game . . . cooperative. There were still people who had water by yesterday (Thanksgiving) morning. At least half of the people on the system had 24 hours warning and knew how long they would be out (of water) and stored up a lot," she said.
She said Big Water is not the only town in Kane County to experience water problems this week. She said the community of Mount Carmel "also has been without water, but I don't know for how long."
Cleve Esplin, owner and manager of Mount Carmel Motel and Trailer Park, located in Mount Carmel, a Kane County community of about 110 to 115 people on U.S. 89, told the Deseret News Friday evening that there were problems earlier this week with getting enough water pressure from a well, owned by a service district and located about 100 yards from the motel.
But "to my knowledge, no one was without water," Esplin said.
Steve Griffiths, who is in charge of the well for the town, confirmed the problem, which he said occurred when maintenance was performed over about three days on a pumping unit at the bottom of the well.
The Thunderbird complex, a restaurant, lodge and trailer park at Mt. Carmel Junction a mile south, agreed to begin relying on an auxiliary pump so there would be enough drinking water for everyone in the community, Griffiths said.
How did things go on Thanksgiving Day in Big Water without water? Elizabeth Joseph was asked.
"We did . We had 50 people at our house, and it wasn't one whit different than our usual Thanksgiving, except the dishes were a little hassle," she added.