FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. Why do we need a tank?

Water storage performs three important functions in the Orem City water System:

Operational Storage – Demands in our water system fluctuate throughout the course of a day. Demands often peak during the middle of the night when most residents irrigate their landscaping and then decrease during the day, especially outside of periods when people are actively showering or preparing meals. Storage is used to help meet these fluctuations in demand. Water is pulled from storage to meet system needs during peak demands and then refilled during periods of lower demand.

 

Emergency Storage – Water supply from sources such as wells and treatment plants can occasionally be disrupted. This can be the result of mechanical problems, a power failure, or water quality disruptions. During these periods, storage allows service to continue uninterrupted to Orem City residents while the supply issue is addressed.

 

Fire Flow Storage – One use of our water systems that is critical to our community is for firefighting. Storage provides the large volume of water that is rapidly needed when fighting a fire.

 

The volume of storage needed to satisfy these functions is routinely evaluated by City staff and outside consultants. Three separate and independent studies concluded that Orem is 10 million gallons short on culinary water storage. Without the construction of additional storage, the City will be unable to adequately accomplish the three functions above.

2. How did we let ourselves become so short on storage?

 

For many years, Orem has been “borrowing” storage from our neighbor Central Utah Water Conservancy District. The District has had extra storage and using this storage while it was available has allowed the City to preserve available funds for other needs. Unfortunately, the District’s available storage is quickly vanishing as other fast growing neighboring communities are beginning to use their dedicated portion of the storage. The time has come for Orem to “move out of our brother’s basement” by building our own storage. Additionally, all of Orem’s current storage portfolio is located in the same general area of northeast Orem. Placing a well, booster station, and storage facility more toward the middle of the water system serves many benefits for water supply, emergency storage, redundancy, and water distribution operations and is good water system planning.

3.  Will the water tank construction be unsafe for children as they walk to school?

 

 a. Safety during construction, for all, will be a top priority. The City, engineers, Alpine School District (ASD), and the contractor will work together to establish safe walking routes to Orem Elementary School. Fortunately, there are sidewalks to the school that will allow children to travel to school without getting too close to construction. Previously, ASD published this Safe Route Map  for Orem Elementary.

 

b. The construction site will have limited access with construction fencing surrounding the perimeter.

 

c. Security patrols and surveillance will be in place.

 

d. Access through the construction site will not be available to children walking to school. 

4. How much will it cost and how will it be funded? How will it affect our water prices? 

 

Construction of the tank, pump station, well, and all associated pipelines and other amenities are expected to cost around $30 million. Funding for the project will come largely through a bond. Bonding for the project will allow the City to take advantage of historically low interest rates and spread the cost of the project over several decades so that the project is paid for by those who are receiving the benefit.

5. What will the tank and well look like?   

 

Design concepts will be shared on the project website as they become available. The City has a public outreach plan in place to gather input from the community on many of the visual features associated with the project.

 

6. Why was the tank location changed from Community Park?

 

Selecting this site provided several benefits. Because of its elevation and proximity to 400 South, this site functions better hydraulically within the City water system. This means less expensive and better service for Orem City water customers. This site also allowed the City to avoid interruption of the use of Community Park and preserves additional open space for residents’ future use. 

7.  Will construction bring trucks?

 

It is true that during construction, especially the excavation efforts, construction traffic will increase.  Crosswalks and crossing guard assignments will be reviewed with ASD and the community. 

Exactly how many trucks is not yet determined, but it is reasonable to expect that a construction project of this importance and magnitude will bring a lot of trucks.  Regardless of the final number, access to homes and clear flow of local traffic will be a priority during construction.

8. Will the tank be a water treatment facility?

 

No.  The tank will provide intermediate storage that will be integrated into the Orem water system daily operations.  Any water from the well will be chlorinated before entering the tank. ​

 

9. Will the tank leak?

 

The tank will be designed to appropriate engineering standards and structural codes and monitoring will be in place to detect leaks.  Buried tanks are found all over the world and many are found locally.  Orem has buried tanks and some that are not buried.  None of Orem’s tanks leak.​

 

10. What if the tank fails?

 

The tank will not fail, but let’s put the risk in perspective. If the tank were to fail, it would occur as a crack in the floor or wall of the tank. Because the tank is buried and nearly all water will be below the existing ground surface, any water released during a “failure” would simply leak into the ground. Thus, there is no potential for large damaging flows coming from the tank.

11. Has Orem performed any geological/engineering studies to determine the suitability of the soils?

 

The City will conduct geotechnical investigations and analysis.  The tank will be constructed only if the soils are suitable.

12. When will all the details of the engineering be complete? 

 

The City has worked with engineers to locate the tank, well, and booster station from a hydraulic and operating perspective now and in the future.  Those efforts have led to the currently selected area. The finite details of exact shape, dimensions, depth, quantity of earth, volume of concrete, steel, border perimeter, access, security, etc. is currently being designed by the tank design engineering team.

13. How deep will the tank be?

 

The excavation for the tank will be 20 to 25 feet deep. Maximum water depth within the tank will be about 18 feet.

14. Will the tank be safe in an earthquake?

 

Yes, the tank will be built to seismic standards for our area.

15. Will my foundation crack due to construction from the tank?

 

Homes are built with footings and foundations designed to support the house placed upon them.  The tank construction schematics show a distance of 40’ from the closest property line.  Other home foundations and other improvements (concrete, pipelines, etc.) occur much closer to existing home foundations without any problems.  Even the asphalt street in front of your house requires significant compaction to construct.  Foundation problems are not expected with the tank construction.

16. Will there be dust problems? Will the City pay me to clean my windows?

 

Anytime that earth is disturbed, the potential for additional dust in the air exists. The City and the contractor will work together to minimize this as much as feasible through water trucks and other means.  However, similar to a roadway construction project, utility replacement project, or other residential/commercial building, some additional dust and other inconveniences may occur.  As we all witnessed with the dirty snow in February of 2021, dust in the air is sometimes out of anyone’s control, but the City and contractor will do what they can to minimize it.   Similar to other projects necessary to continue utility service, maintenance, and roadway travel, generally the City will not pay for private individuals to have their windows cleaned.

17. What about the well? How deep will that be? 

 

The actual well itself will be up to 1200 feet deep.  The method to reach this depth is by drilling a casing approximately 24 inches in diameter.  This is where the aquifer is that Orem has found past success in producing the highest quality water.  Orem currently operates 9 deep wells throughout the City at this depth.

18. Will the well cause problems for my house foundation or the soils around it?

 

With Orem’s current 9 deep wells in operation, the first placed in operation in 1958 and latest in 2012, there have been no problems related to settlement or aquifer consolidation.   Generally, wells at this depth do not result in problems with the surrounding neighborhood.  All of Utah County has water wells throughout the area and the City is not aware of any instances where this has been a concern.

19. Will all the trees in the orchard be removed? 

 

Yes, within the portion of the orchard that the city has acquired.

20. What if I want to sell or rent my home during construction, won’t this devalue my home or rent capacity?

 

There are above ground and buried water tanks throughout the nation and many locally here in Utah.  The City is unaware of a property valuation that suggests reduction due to an adjacent buried water tank. In fact, a property appraiser working with the City stated buried tanks would not affect property value. In most cases, having a tank adjacent to a residential property actually increases the value of the property as it fixes the use of the property and means the future owner doesn’t have to worry about what will develop next door.

21. How will children and the neighborhood be protected from chlorine gas?

 

The use of chlorine gas in a 150 lb. cylinder is safe and effective. In the state of Utah 555 gaseous chlorinators are in operation in public water systems throughout. Orem water experts are familiar with and safely handle gas chlorine cylinders daily. Chlorine gas is a routine part of our award-winning and outstanding water service standards.  For more information click here.

22. Will the well building be loud and vibrate?

 

Inside the well building will be loud, but with very small vibrations. A properly running pump and motor will have little to no vibration.  The building will be acoustically designed to dampen and suppress inside noises.  The City operates 9 wells throughout the City and works well with neighbors. 

23. Is a deep culinary water well in a residential neighborhood a good idea?

 

Nearly all of Orem’s 9 wells are in residential neighborhoods.  Residential neighborhoods need water. The well buildings and surrounding grounds are properly maintained.  Our past success with wells in residential neighborhoods leads to the conclusion that, once complete, we will be excellent neighbors.

24. What will the well/booster pump building look alike?  

 

Design concepts will be shared on the project website as they become available. The City has a public outreach plan in place to gather input from the community on many of the visual features associated with the project.

25. Will the tank increase the pressures to the homes/neighborhoods that have lower pressure right now?

 

Pressure in a water system is a function of demand. Yes, the well and booster station (which are part of the overall tank project) will increase the pressure for the Central Zone.

 

26. Will there be lights at night at the pump house?

 

There will be lighting similar to residential eave lights, etc.

27. Is there an electrical substation and generators?

 

There will not be a substation, but there will be a transformer and a generator.  The generator will be utilized only during a power outage and for occasional short testing periods. 

28. Will the neighborhood with the pump house require a zone change?

 

No, it is a permitted use.

29. What is the tank dimension?

 

The tank will be approximately 320 feet in diameter.  The tank will be designed for 10,000,000 gallons of storage.  

30. Will there be any odor coming from the pump house in the chlorination process?

 

No, the City operates several wells in residential areas with no odor complaints.

31. In having an emergency generator for service during power outages, what type of generator would be used and where would the fuel storage tank be located?

 

Final decisions have not been made.  Either diesel or natural gas.  There are benefits to both. With diesel, the storage would be held in a tank.

32. Generators must be tested monthly. What would be the noise impact and duration of the noise pollution during the testing and in an emergency?

 

The generator would make noise when it is tested and in operation during an emergency, possibly at the noise level of a garbage truck.  Monthly testing would occur for about 20 minutes.  

33. Would 400 South or 400 West need to be closed during construction?

 

"There may be times when 400 South will need to be closed for a short period of time to install new pipelines." 

34. Will there be other tanks in the future or is this it?

 

No other tanks are currently planned to be constructed,

35. Is the need for this water tank the result of allowing growth beyond our water capacity?

 

No, this is a result of a healthy, vibrant, growing community where people enjoy raising families and working.  ​