New arsenic treatment plant near Gunlock would add water sources for St. George

A new arsenic treatment plant near Gunlock would give St. George more options for water sources. Arsenic is a naturally occurring mineral that can be harmful if too much of it is in drinking water | Photo by mheim3011, iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Plans are in the works for a $10 million arsenic treatment plant near Gunlock that would provide more backup water sources for St. George.

A simulation shows what an arsenic treatment plant would look like on Gunlock Road | Image courtesy of Bureau of Land Management, St. George News

St. George Water Services plans to build the plant on Gunlock Road just south of Gunlock reservoir, Water Services Director Scott Taylor said. The project is slated to begin construction next year, and the estimated $10 million for the building will come out of the water services budget.

Arsenic is a naturally occurring mineral. If the human body is exposed to high levels of arsenic, it can be harmed. However, the Environmental Protection Agency has designated that water with arsenic at or below 10 parts per billion is safe for drinking.

“Arsenic is found in a lot of groundwater all over,” Taylor said. “An arsenic treatment plant would remove the arsenic out of the water to a safe drinking water standard.”

Out of 11 groundwater wells owned by St. George Water Services near Gunlock, only two have a low enough arsenic level to be considered safe by the EPA, Taylor said. The other nine wells aren’t being used at this time because they have too much arsenic in them.

A map shows the proposed location of the arsenic treatment plant near St. George | Map courtesy of Bureau of Land Management, St. George News

“We’ve just had to mothball the other nine wells we can’t use,” Taylor said. “We feel like the timing is right to build this plant so we can utilize all of the groundwater over there.”

Right now, other than what is produced by the two wells at Gunlock, St. George is purchasing water from the Quail Creek Reservoir water treatment plant, he said. Building an arsenic treatment plant at Gunlock would give St. George Water Services more source options.

St. George residents will probably not see water rates change after the arsenic treatment plant is completed.

“It costs just as much to treat the water at Quail Creek as it does over here at Gunlock,” Taylor said. “But it provides us a second source — a redundant source — and we’ll obviously be able to produce more water out of Gunlock.”

The plant will also help curb the effects of a possible future drought in Southern Utah, he said. Groundwater sources like the wells at Gunlock are less vulnerable to drought than above-ground water sources like Quail Creek Reservoir.

Construction of the arsenic treatment plant is expected to begin early 2019 and take 12-18 months for completion.

Email: sricks@stgnews.com

Twitter:  @STGnews | @SpencerRicks

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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4 Comments

  • Rob83 February 22, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    Arsenic is a scary subject, I don’t feel well, thanks for letting us know =/

  • DoYourHomework February 22, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    The concept of 10 parts per billion is a brilliant lie. If we poison you slowly or safely we wont be responsible because we can just blame it on cancer. Which is what arsenic will do over time if levels are increased. How can one believe the lies these agencies spit? Some EPA misleader says 10ppb is “safe” thats like saying 99% is water and 1% is the crap i took lastnight. They have 10 million to posion us. When will the majority realize everthing gubment touches they destroy and need more money to fix their created choas? Stop funding this adversarial system. The adverse dont care about you. They control you by your consent. Think of the facts here we are. allowing them to reduce poision to feed us poision and are funding this evil act by the idiots total consent. If you get what im saying then stop using their creations aka frn’s. Maximum of law creator controls. Persons and legal tender are created by state. Men are created by the universe stop funding the adverse. If you want cancer keep paying to exist or producing fictiuos paper to prove your dead in this fictious cartoon called hell. open air debters prision for mind. Say no to poision try to recognize the stakes here. Stepout of disneyland its all actors and acts keeping u (their property) safe by causing u dis easement.

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    • John February 23, 2018 at 10:37 am

      Don’t like the water? MOVE !

  • Striker4 February 22, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    If they don’t kill you by the water you drink or the food you eat they will kill you with the air you breathe either way your dead !

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