New water treatment plant provides extra 3 million gallons daily to Washington County’s largest cities

ST. GEORGE — Earlier this month, the Washington County Water Conservancy District announced a new ground water treatment plant, built near the Sand Hollow Reservoir in Hurricane, had begun treating and delivering additional drinking-quality water to the county.

The new Sand Hollow groundwater treatment plant, Hurricane, Utah, June 2021 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Water Conservancy District, St. George News

The new Sand Hollow Treatment Plant was built for $11 million and delivers three million gallons of water per day to the recently completed Sand Hollow Regional Pipeline. The water treatment facility also has the capacity to expand to 6 million gallons per day as demand increases.

“It’s not as big as our treatment plant at Quail Creek, but it’s still substantial,” said Cory Cram, the water district’s associate general manager over project development.

This ground water was previously unavailable for use do to its containing levels of dissolved metals within it that were just high enough to be over the safety threshold for drinking water, Cram said. With the completion of the treatment plant, the dissolved metals are no longer a problem.

“This creates a new source of water,” he said, adding it also adds to the quantity of drinking-quality water the water district is able to deliver to its customers.

The treated water will go from the treatment plant to the rapidly developing south side of St. George and Washington City. Some of the water will go to Hurricane as well. Before flowing to the cities, however, the water will go through a six-stage treatment process, ensuring it meets or exceeds national drinking water standards, according to the water district.

The new Sand Hollow groundwater treatment plant, Hurricane, Utah, June 2021 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Water Conservancy District, St. George News

Approximately 3 million gallons of the treated water will also be held in a new water tank being built in Warner Valley near the Warner Valley Road interchange of the Southern Parkway.

“The completion of the Sand Hollow Groundwater Treatment Plant puts more water in our system – and we need the water,” Zach Renstrom, water district general manager, said in a press release earlier this month. “Our county is experiencing unprecedented growth in one of the driest years on record. This facility couldn’t have come online at a more important time.”

Construction on the plant begin in 2019 and coincided with the building of the 12-mile, $16 million Sand Hollow Regional Pipeline. This infrastructure is tied into the overall water delivery system of the water district, and also provides redundancy in the system should one source of water feeding the system be rendered unusable.

As an example of that redundancy, Cram pointed to a water treatment plant St. George built near Gunlock to treat a water source with high levels of arsenic. Should the Sand Hollow treatment plant fail for any reason, water from the St. George plant, which also ties into the overall system, could be sent to the south side of St. George and Washington City until the issue was fixed.

A new concrete, 3 million gallon water tank being built in Warner Valley by the Washington County Conservancy District, May 12, 2021 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Water Conservancy District, St. George News

“The more resources we have for water, then the better off we have it,” Cram said. “All these systems tie in and deliver water to our cities. They also create great redundancy, and redundancy provides us backup water and security in our water supply.”

A part of the water district’s mission is to find and develop new sources of water for the county. While the ongoing issue of securing and building the Lake Powell Pipeline is a large part of that mission, there are also less publicized infrastructure projects the water district is involved in, Cram said.

One of those undertakings is the Ash Creek Project, which will run a pipeline from a leaky Ash Creek reservoir on the Black Ridge down an area between Anderson Junction and Toquerville where a new reservoir – the Toquer Reservoir – is slated to be built.

Along with collecting water from the leaking reservoir, water from streams running off Pine Valley Mountain will also be diverted into the pipeline.

The Toquer Reservoir will be a smaller reservoir and provide recreational opportunities, Cram said, adding construction on the pipeline and reservoir should begin in the near-future as needed approvals from government land agencies are finalized.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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