The City Council is considering construction of a new 2-million-gallon water storage facility in Grovecreek Canyon.

A public hearing on the proposed project will be May 16 at 7 p.m. in the meeting room of the new library, 30 East Center. Residents are invited to comment or to submit written remarks during the hearing. Also, written comments will be accepted through May 26.The new underground storage facility would eliminate the low pressure problems during peak demand periods for residents living along the foothills in Pleasant Grove, according to Lee Wimmer, city engineer.

It would also provide added fire protection capabilities, more operational flexibility and ensure that the city wouldn't have to purchase water from other sources. And, the bigger tank would allow for additional growth in the northeast section, from 500 North east to the city limits.

"We have had to limit subdivision approvals because we haven't been able to provide water to them," Wimmer said.

Wimmer compared the greater operational flexibility of the proposed tank to that of a car with a 20-gallon fuel tank versus a 10-gallon fuel tank. "With a bigger tank you don't have to fill up as often," Wimmer said.

The cost of the project has been estimated at $776,000. The Safe Drinking Water Committee has given the project approval to receive a low interest 15-year loan of $166,000, and the city has some money available for the project. But the majority of the project's funding would come from an increase in water users' monthly bills, Wimmer said.

A proposed fee schedule would retain a base rate of $6.20 for the first 8,000 gallons of water used, with a charge of 75 cents for every 1,000 gallons used over that amount. Currently, water users pay $6.20 for the first 10,000 gallons of water, and 62 cents for every 1,000 gallons over that amount.

According to city figures, average water usage is 22,500 gallons a month; under the proposed fee schedule, water bills would increase from $13.97 to $17.11, up $3.14 per month.

"We have tried to structure the fee schedule so it won't hurt the small users," Wimmer said.

The new rate would generate enough revenue to repay the loan and cover increased costs of new Environmental Protection Agency and state and federal drinking water testing and regulation requirements.

"We welcome people's comments," Wimmer said. "It's a worthy project in my opinion, but we want to see if it is in the eyes of the people."

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CHART

Proposed fees

-Current fee schedule: $6.20 for the first 10,000 gallons used, with a charge of 62 cents for every 1,000 gallons over that amount.

-Proposed fee schedule: $6.20 for the first 8,000 gallons used, with a charge of 75 cents for every 1,000 gallons over that amount.