Bringing water and sewer service to west Farmington could cost homeowners between $1,000 and $1,500 an acre, according to a preliminary study by the city. City impact and hookup fees could push the cost over $2,000 per home.

The study was done at the request of a committee of residents in the area, which is studying the prospect of annexing into the city for access to city water and sewer services.Except for the new county justice complex and fairgrounds, most of the area west of I-15 and referred to as west Farmington is unincorporated. The area is mostly rural, with homes on one acre or larger lots interspersed among open pastures.

The study committee, headed by Rulon Homer, is preparing to survey residents and property owners in the area and had requested financial data on hookup fees and the cost of building water and sewer lines.

The study divided the water and sewer project into two phases - the first covering 850 acres closest to the city, and the second phase taking in the remaining 665 acres.

The engineering study estimates the cost of building a water system in the first phase at $585 an acre, with a sewer system at $450 an acre. Second-phase cost estimates are $825 an acre for sewer and $665 an acre for water.

In addition to paying a share of the construction cost, a typical homeowner with a half-acre lot would be assessed the city's $700 development impact fee, a special $350 west Farmington surcharge, and the standard $700 city hookup fee.

That would put the cost of city water at $2,032, according to the study.

While individual homeowners may be willing to pay those costs, the study concludes that owners of large parcels of property who don't want to develop or sell their land may balk at the cost.

The study estimates an owner of a 20-acre parcel could be assessed around $20,000. If the land is subdivided and developed, the cost would be recovered.

But a landowner interested in keeping the property for pasture or farming may oppose the project, which the study concludes illustrates "some challenges that area may have in winning support from large property owners."

Building a water system in the area is expensive because the first lines to be installed should be large service lines, upgraded from the standard 8-inch service lines generally installed in subdivisions.

Only one water line - under the State Street overpass over I-15 - currently serves the area, extended to the new justice complex and fairgrounds. The city has a moratorium on hookups to that line for individual property owners until the study is completed.

City manager Max Forbush said a top priority is to get a second line - probably coming from Shepard Lane - hooked onto the jail line to complete a loop.

If the existing line breaks or has to be shut down, the justice complex water supply would be cut off. Completion of the loop would allow water service to the complex to remain intact if the State Street line has to be shut down, Forbush said.