Water Supply Development

Summary of Expertise

  • Well Siting and Design
  • Conveyance System Design
  • Construction Management
  • Source Protection Plans

Water . . . you can swim in it, fish in it, boat on it, mine with it, irrigate with it, wash your clothes with it, and bathe in it.   But you can't live without it.  EarthFax has assisted numerous clients in the development and protection of water supplies.  This experience has included:

POTABLE WATER SYSTEM COMPUTER MODELING AND EVALUATION AT AN INDUSTRIAL FACILITY.  EarthFax generated a computerized model of an existing potable water system at a refinery located in northern Utah.  Due to the age of the refinery and expansion of its facilities over the years, the existing potable water system had become outdated and was incapable of meeting current demand.  Some of the challenges of modeling the existing system included the lack of accurate mapping, inadequate records of pipe sizes, and installation of dead-end lines without loops.  EarthFax inventoried existing water system design and construction information and compiled existing drawings of the public and private water utilities that supply the refinery.  These were added to the existing facility base map for use in creating the computer model and preliminary cost estimates.  Problem areas were identified based on simulated flows and recommendations were made for developing alternative loops, valves, and line replacements.  We also developed potable water system schematic drawings that included pipe sizes, pipe conditions, and pipe configurations.  Additionally, potable water demand simulations were run for the various refinery process units to identify problems specific to each area of the refinery and recommend prioritized repairs and replacements.  EarthFax worked closely with the client to develop master plan alternatives that would identify the best cost-to-benefit values based on the client’s priorities.

REFINERY FIREWATER SYSTEM ADEQUACY EVALUATION AND IMPPROVEMENT DESIGNS.  In 2011, EarthFax Engineering, Inc. was contracted to conduct a study of the existing firewater system at a refinery and tank farm located in Salt Lake City, Utah. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the system adequacy and make recommendations for flow and pressure improvements where required.  As part of the study, EarthFax developed estimates (in accordance with NFPA and API standards) of the quantity of water required for firefighting at the refinery and tank farm to prevent or mitigate the loss of equipment and business interruption should a fire occur. Additionally, the study addressed the amount of firewater that was actually available for firefighting within these areas.  In order to address these issues, EarthFax performed the following scope of work:

  • Researched existing construction drawings for information regarding the existing firewater systems;
  • Performed a field inventory of the existing firewater systems to verify the drawings of record;
  • Created a master maps of the firewater system;
  • Performed flow tests of the firewater systems;
  • Developed a firewater distribution model of the existing system; 
  • Evaluated existing system function verses system requirements to identify deficiencies.

Project work was completed in approximately two months and a report summarizing the results of the study was provided to the client.  Following receipt and review of the study, the client contracted with EarthFax to provide plans, specifications, and engineering services for each of several priorities that were identified as project phases.  EarthFax project tasks for each of these phases include:

System Design - Includes detailed design and layout of the firewater distribution system as conceptually described in the firewater system evaluation report recommendations and as requested by the client.  Project work includes defining locations of existing fire hydrants, underground piping and fittings, designing connections to existing equipment and the existing firewater system, and designing firewater system control valve features. 

Project Drawings – Includes producing Issued for Review drawings to be reviewed by the client and EarthFax personnel.  After the completion of the review process, EarthFax will produce Issued for Construction drawings.  These drawing sets will be used to bid and construct the project work.

Project Technical Specifications – Includes producing a set of Draft technical specifications for review by the client and EarthFax personnel.  After the completion of the review process, EarthFax will produce Issued for Construction technical specifications.  These technical specifications sets will be used to construct the project work.  Included in the technical specifications are bidding and contract documents to facilitate bidding and contracting of the project.

Project Material List - A list of parts that will be required to complete the firewater work in the area will be prepared following completion of the technical specifications.  The parts list will include piping, fittings, valves, and materials to complete the project as designed and approved.  The parts list will not include any materials required for backfilling or bedding of piping/trenching.

CULINARY WATER DISTRIBUTION LINE REPLACEMENT.  EarthFax assisted the town of Loa, Utah with funding research, submittal of a funding application, engineering design, and construction inspection for replacement of a 3,700-foot culinary water distribution line.  Replacement of the existing line was necessary due to leakage and potential for contamination of culinary water in the system.  Following preparation of a funding application provided by the Utah Division of Drinking Water and approved by the town leaders, EarthFax presented details of the application before the Utah Drinking Water Board in a regularly scheduled meeting of the Board in Salt Lake City.  The purpose of the presentation was to give the Board members detailed information about the project for their consideration in approving the funding request.  Following approval by the Board to fund the project, EarthFax provided engineering design and construction inspection services for the project.  As a condition of funding approval, the municipality was required to complete a Water Conservation and Vulnerability Assessment to help protect the town’s water resources now and in the future.  EarthFax assisted the client by preparing a plan for review, approval, and submittal by town leaders.

RURAL MUNICIPAL SPRING REPAIR.  Historic slope failures in the vicinity of a spring box collection and conveyance system had restricted flow and threatened the quality of culinary water resources for a rural municipality located in Sanpete County.  EarthFax provided civil/geotechnical engineering design and construction inspection services to the City of Ephraim to repair the spring box collection system following several recent failures that were located in and above the area of the springs.  Tasks included removal of saturated soils in the area where slope failure occurred and placement of gabion baskets, geofabric, and compacted fill material to stabilize the slope.  Additional tasks included placement of pea gravel and collection piping near the springs to collect water, convey it away from the slope, and place it into pretreatment transmission lines.

GROUND SOURCE HEAT EXCHANGE.  EarthFax has designed and supervised the construction of several groundwater extraction and injection wells for use in ground-source heat exchange systems.  We assisted the client by conducting hydrogeologic evaluations to the areas to identify target production and injection zones, applying for non-consumptive use and underground injection permits, modeling the aquifers to determine potential extraction yields and injection intake rates, determining well spacing to best utilize the thermal properties of the aquifers without impacting nearby water users, designing screens and filter packs to maximize well efficiencies, developing specifications and bid documents for installation of the wells, performing pumping and injections tests to assess actual well capacities, and making recommendations concerning the sustainability of flow and diffusion of water into the aquifer.  We have provided these services for wells with yields ranging from about 100 to 600 gallons per minute, depths of 120 to 520 feet, and finished diameters of 8 to 10 inches.  These wells have been installed in both unconsolidated and bedrock aquifers.

WATER SYSTEM EVALUATION. EarthFax was contracted to evaluate the viability of an interconnected water-distribution system in Utah with more than 5,000 domestic, commercial, agricultural, and other connections and determine whether or not “bottle necks” exist that could reduce system performance.  To accomplish this task, we modeled flow and pressure conditions under normal and peak-demand scenarios, evaluating source reliability, multiple storage tanks, with over 100 miles of ductile iron and PVC distribution piping (up to 30 inches in diameter), and appurtenant structures (valves, pressure reducers, thrust blocks, interconnects, etc.).

Specifications were prepared for the installation of seven exploratory boreholes in Salt Lake County, Utah to develop a data-base for the design of large-quantity production wells. EarthFax assisted the client (a major metropolitan water district) in selecting contractors to drill the boreholes and then supervised drilling and down-hole geophysical logging of the holes. Based on cuttings samples collected from the holes and a review of the geophysical logs, recommendations were provided to the client for construction of production wells at the locations. Combined yields from the seven production wells was designed to be in excess of 15,000 gallons per minute.

EarthFax prepared specifications for drilling, completion, and testing of two high yield wells for a metropolitan water district in Salt Lake County, Utah. Data collected from previous exploratory drilling were evaluated to determine appropriate well-design parameters. Drilling and well completion are currently being supervised, along with the performance of constant-rate pumping tests. Combined yields from the two wells is designed to be approximately 4700 gallons per minute.
A water supply, storage, and distribution system was designed for a summer home development consisting of 300 lots. Very-low-frequency electromagnetic surveys were conducted to determine the best location for wells capable of supplying water from the fractured aquifer. Specifications for drilling were prepared and drilling and testing of the resulting water-supply wells was supervised. Drilling was accomplished using air-rotary techniques. Storage tank locations were selected to take optimum advantage of elevation at the site. Distribution structures (pipes, valves, thrust blocks, etc.) were designed. All design information was approved by the regulatory agency prior to construction.

A municipal water-supply well was designed for a community to replace an abandoned well whose yield had deteriorated. Specifications were prepared and construction of the well was overseen. The well (designed to yield approximately 500 gallons per minute) was drilled in unconsolidated materials using air-rotary techniques with a polymer drilling-fluid additive.

Field surveys were performed for a community, a resort, and a major residential development in Utah to site water wells required to meet anticipated future demands. Very-low-frequency electromagnetic surveys were performed to delineate the locations of water-bearing fractures that would enhance well yields. Optimal well locations were chosen based on fracture locations, existing land ownership, distance to existing distribution systems, and distance to points of use. Recommendations were made for locations of storage tanks to increase pressure in the distribution systems.
A water supply was developed for a hazardous-waste incinerator in western Utah to provide both industrial and domestic water at the plant. Local geologic conditions were assessed and a well location was recommended. A pilot well was drilled and tested to determine the adequacy of the underlying aquifer. Based on the results of the tests, a production well was designed and installed with a capacity in excess of 500 gallons per minute. The pilot well was retained as a backup well for use at the plant.

A water-supply well with a depth of approximately 5,400 feet was designed and installed for a surface coal mine in eastern Wyoming. Specifications for construction of the well were prepared. The well was drilled to supply a yield of approximately 500 gallons per minute of water required for use in dust suppression. Drilling and construction activities were supervised to provide a turn-key project.

PREPARATION OF PRELIMINARY EVALUATION REPORT AND DRINKING WATER SOURCE PROTECTION PLANS.  EarthFax has prepared multiple Preliminary Evaluation Reports and Drinking Water Source Protection Plans for culinary water wells and springs throughout the State of Utah.  These reports and plans were prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Utah Division of Drinking Water to identify uncontrolled potential contamination or pollution sources within the capture zones of the water sources.  They also identified existing land use agreements or zoning ordinances that could affect the sources during future operation.  Following approval of the Preliminary Evaluation Reports by Utah Division of Drinking Water, we supervised construction of the wells or development of the springs, collected data from pump tests, calculated the transmissivity and hydraulic conductivity of the aquifers, modeled groundwater flow under probable operational scenarios, and delineated source protection zone boundaries in accordance with Utah administrative code R-309-600.  We then identified potential contamination sources within these protection zones, assisted the clients in obtaining agreements with adjacent land owners to preclude the establishment of future contamination sources, and developed management plans that were presented as part of the Drinking Water Source Protection Plans.

A water-supply well was designed and installed at a summer camp which had previously relied on springs to provide domestic water. The project was conducted under a short time frame since the springs which had normally provided water had gone dry. An emergency water supply was arranged for during drilling of the well. Specifications for construction of the well were prepared, drilling operations were supervised, and liaison was provided between the client and the regulatory authority.

Copyright 2013 EarthFax Engineering Group, LLC
7324 South Union Park Ave., Midvale, Utah 84047 | Phone: 801-561-1555

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