Find a list of your saved stories here

Utah audits criticize water district response to Ogden flood


Save Story

Save stories to read later


Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

OGDEN, Utah (AP) — Water district officials were negligent in responding when a reservoir leak flooded an Ogden neighborhood, according to the Utah State Auditor's Office.

A 10-page state audit released Tuesday says the Weber-Box Elder Conservation District did too little too late during the summer's weeks-long flood, reported the Standard Examiner reports (http://bit.ly/1Lai4vf ).

The audit does, however, say that Ogden City Water officials responded to the incident in a timely and appropriate manner.

The auditor's office considered Ogden City Water as the area's culinary water provider and the conservation district as its source for irrigation or secondary water.

The Weber-Box Elder district oversees the reservoir that caused the flooding, damaging the basements of more than a dozen homes. The state audit concluded that the district did not seem to understand the significance of the flooding and responded in a haphazard, unsystematic way.

The board voted to cancel its July meeting despite learning about the flooding on June 28, the report said.

A professional engineer with the firm Hansen, Allen & Luce Engineers concluded that the district should have immediately checked the reservoir, but the audit said district officials maintained the reservoir was sound until draining it Aug. 9 and discovering the leak.

By that point, homeowners had been dealing with water in their basements for six weeks.

State auditors said the district should have initially identified the source of the flooding through various testing methods. Ogden City conducted chemical composition tests on the first day the flooding was reported, according to the report.

Terel Grimley of Pineview Water Systems, which oversees the water district, defended the district's actions in a four-page response.

"There was no failure to effectively evaluate and identify the source of the ground water," wrote Grimley.

Grimley also submitted new information about district procedure, noting that canal operators checked the reservoir four times daily to monitor conditions and water levels.

"The impacts on an entire distribution system delivering water to 2,491 connections have to be carefully considered and evaluated before shutting off water to find leaks," Grimley said.

The district did agree with one audit recommendation to devise an emergency plan and train employees yearly on responding to such a crisis.

An auditor questioned the reliability of Grimley's information, saying it was inconsistent and provided too late.

State Rep. Justin Fawson, a North Ogden Republican, said he plans to introduce legislation that would help tighten accountability for the water districts.

"It's a pretty scathing report," he said. "My first impression was that they were reliably inconsistent, defensive and patently unaware of current practices. It seemed to me there were obvious gaps in training and their own professional development."

___

Information from: Standard-Examiner, http://www.standard.net

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Most recent Business stories

Related topics

Business
The Associated Press

    STAY IN THE KNOW

    Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the KSL.com Trending 5.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast