OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- Sandy, discolored tap water in parts of Ogden can be cleaned up by constructing a settling basin, flushing pipes more often and adding a chemical sooner, a study concluded.
Marvin Zaugg, manager of Ogden's water utility division, said the study was performed by consultant CH2M Hill.
Zaugg said the contamination levels are well below Environmental Protection Agency limits.
He said the problems are exacerbated during summer and in drought conditions.
"We've been working on this thing, desperately trying to resolve it, but we really needed to get an outside source to analyze it as well," he said. "Is it fixing it? No. It's going to cost a lot more to fix it."
He said he was unsure how much it would cost to implement the study's recommendations.
George Benford, Ogden public services director, said the city's culinary water system needs about $130 million worth of infrastructure improvements.
He said the city simply does not sell enough water at the rates it currently charges.
"We don't even collect enough revenue from water sales basically to operate the utility company, let alone to put aside money for upgrades," Benford said.
Earlier this year, the City Council increased water rates 5 percent to pay for pressure-release valves, which it identified as the most critical need.
Council Chairman Rick Safsten said he expects more discussions in the spring about how to pay for additional improvements.
"There are various alternatives for financing this kind of thing," Safsten said. "We need to get going on this, obviously."
To correct the problem of sandy water, the study recommended the city construct a large settling basin at its wells near Pineview Reservoir.
"I know that's going to take a lot of money, but it's one of those things we need to look at," Zaugg said.
To address the problem of discolored water, which is caused by excess iron and manganese, the study recommended more frequent flushing of pipes.
The city has been flushed pipes in certain areas of the east bench as often as three times a week during the summer, Zaugg said.
"It's a Band-Aid for the thing, but it's part of what needs to happen," he said.
A more permanent solution would be to eliminate dead-end lines by looping them back into the system, which would allow water to circulate, according to the study.
Zaugg said it costs $60,000 to $70,000 per block to add new lines.
Another solution for discolored water would be adding a polyphosphate before water arrives at the city's treatment plant, the study said.
Zaugg said that strategy has proven effective for water that's pumped from the city's wells, but not for water taken directly from Pineview Reservoir because the polyphosphate doesn't have time to react.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)