Water News

Tuesday, August 9, 2022


Funding/Administrative Updates: 

  • ARPA 2022-23 - America Rescue Plan Act Water Project We are submitting an almost $7.5 million grant to the State Land and Investment Board this week for the replacement of wood stave pipeline and spring boxes in the Sage Creek Basin and to provide repairs and maintenance to the 32-mile pipeline from Sage Creek Basin to the water treatment plant. If fully funded and work stays within the contingency, this project will replace all woodstave pipes and outdated collection systems in the Sage Creek Basin. It will also make major repairs to our 32-mile steel pipeline, such as blow-offs and air valves. Our city matching funds of over $1.2 million will be coming from Chokecherry Impact Assistance funds. 
  • Digitization: After difficulties in finding historic designs and as-built plans, we are working to digitize the hundreds of plans which are currently stored in the City. We are also recording surveys at the Carbon County Land Office to help protect our natural sources of water and other city assets. 
  • Water Rates: We have hired Carl Brown, the only rate analyst recommended by the Wyoming Association of Rural Water Systems, to evaluate and propose necessary rate changes for our water enterprise fund. This includes evaluating current and future needs, analyzing various options, and then presenting recommendations to City Council. Our primary goal is to have rates that are structured in a fair way. For more information on Carl Brown, visit gettinggreatrates.com
  • Parks & City Watering: As of the first week of August, parks have reduced the watering of our city spaces by half (from our original significantly reduced amount) until further notice. 
  • Restrictions: 
    1. Water exemptions are permitted for one-time events, such as a vacation. This could be used to water on an alternate day if you are gone, etc. If you are in need of an exemption, please email crelations@rawlinswy.gov 
    2. With ongoing discussion with City staff and experts from UW Extension Offices, once-a-week turf watering and as-needed watering for gardens, trees, etc. is still the professionally recommended approach.  For full restriction details, please visit www.rawlinswy.gov/379/Outdoor-Irrigation-Restrictions

Water Supply/Storage Updates: 

  • Tanks, Flows, and Storage Data: This week our flow from the Springs/Wells averaged 1.9 million gallons per day. Our community usage averaged 2.2 million gallons per day. Our high-pressure tanks averaged 87% full and our low-pressure tanks averaged 72% full.  Full daily data can be found at www.rawlinswy.gov/381/Flows-and-Storage-Data 

Infrastructure Updates: 

  • Replacement of 10,000 feet of woodstave pipeline with PVC (Phase 1): All issues found during the scoping of the new PVC pipeline have been repaired. All but one final connection point has been located so that we can continue to install vaults to join the spring line to the new PVC pipe. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2022 

The City of Rawlins would like to share updates regarding our water system improvements and funding. We will now be releasing updates on most Tuesdays, even if there is not much progress to report.

“Water infrastructure continues to be the council’s and staff’s #1 priority.  Despite our current difficult situation, we have water rights that far exceed our historical water usage. As we work to repair and expand our water collection in the springs, bring our pre-treatment plant back online, and implement the water cemetery line project, our situation will continue to improve for next summer and the future. Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we work through these repairs over the next few years,” stated City Manager Shawn Metcalf.

Infrastructure Updates: 

  • Replacement of 10,000 feet of woodstave pipeline with PVC (Phase 1): 
    1. Due to the vital nature of this line (as it brings the majority of clean water to our communities), last week our team used a camera to scope almost 1,000 feet of the new line for quality assurance. This week RMI is working to repair all issues which were found.   
    2. We have modified the original emergency contract to use vaults instead of T-connections to join the spring line to the new PVC pipe. This will make them more accessible and functional in the future. Due to difficulties in accessing the historic as-built plans, numerous potholes have been dug to find the original connection points from the woodstave pipeline to the springs.  
    3. We also previously amended the emergency contract so that bedding material would be installed around the new PVC pipeline. 
  • Pre-Treatment Plant: On July 14th our staff had a field visit with Y2 Consultants, our engineering team for the pre-treatment plant. Currently, our staff is ordering necessary equipment and parts, as well as cleaning and preparing the plant. Y2 Consultants and Kruger, the water treatment specialists who initially constructed the plant, are making a field visit the second week of August for the next step of evaluation and testing. After the review, it is now unlikely the plant will be online this watering season.  However, bringing the pre-treatment plant online is the most likely solution to reduce water restrictions for next year.  
  • $675,000 Grant: Preparing to hire an engineering firm to design the blow-offs and cathodic protection which are critical to the protection of our main 32-mile steel transmission line; this work is funded by the $675,000 State Land and Investment Board (SLIB) Mineral Royalties Grant (MRG). 
  • Cemetery Water Line: This line is currently being engineered. Once installed, it will bring raw water from the North Platte to the cemetery. Our design also includes the capacity to potentially irrigate green spaces throughout our community in the future. This is a project funded by the 2019 “6th Penny” Specific Purpose Tax. 

Water Supply/Storage Updates: 

  • Springs and Wells: As is common in the late summer, we are receiving less water per day from the Springs and Wells. For example, on June 1st we received 2.55 million gallons of water from the springs and wells, but on August 1st we received 2.27 million gallons of water from the springs and wells. 
  • Reservoirs: Although Peaking Reservoir is almost completely full and Atlantic Rim is about half full, they are more turbid than usual at this time of year. Due to this turbidity, our water treatment team can only mix limited amounts of reservoir water with the spring/well water. If more reservoir water is added, the filters clog, and treatment grinds to a halt. We are currently processing the most reservoir water that we can treat efficiently, even with four operational filters.
  • Tanks: Our treated water storage tanks have risen to manageable levels at this point. However, they are not yet to where our treatment staff is completely comfortable. Our tank levels as of Monday are at 89% on the low-pressure side and 76% on the high-pressure.  As of last week, they were at 59% and 71%. Thank you for your efforts to help these tanks return to an appropriate level. 
  • Flows and Storage Data: To improve transparency, we are now listing more information on our website and training more staff on uploading data. This can be found at www.rawlinswy.gov/water Our new data, beginning August 1st, will show:
    1. Water flow from Springs and Wells (currently shown)
    2. Total amount of water processed (not currently shown, can be used to determine reservoir water usage which began in mid-July)
    3. Water consumed by the community (currently shown)
    4. Percentage in treated water storage tanks, divided between high-pressure (Hospital and Painted Hills Tanks) and low-pressure (Tank Farm) as they operate independently. 

Funding/Administrative Updates: 

  • Warnings/Fines: After a careful review of the ordinance, we are required to give each home a warning prior to issuing a fine. Our main goal is to keep our community safe, so please continue to take the restrictions seriously. 
  • Enforcement: We currently have two staff members who review water usage data, as well as two staff members who are monitoring for watering around town. 
  • Parks & City Watering: When the tanks dropped drastically last week, the City stopped irrigating parks, the cemetery, and all green spaces for one week. The City will reduce watering at our locations before asking citizens to do the same. We will be reducing the watering of our city spaces by half until further notice. 
  • Restrictions: With ongoing discussion with City staff and experts from UW Extension Offices, once-a-week turf watering and as-needed watering for gardens, trees, etc. is still the professionally recommended approach.  For full restriction details, please visit www.rawlinswy.gov/water 
  • Funding Overview: 

Amount

Source

Purpose

Date

$737,980.00

American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) Stimulus Funding

Phase 1 –Replacement of 10,000 Feet of Woodstave Pipeline and 5 Repairs to Steel Transmission Line  

Sept 28, 2021

$812,019.00

Loan from the General Fund

Phase 1

Sept 28, 2021

$1,252,292.00

 

Impact Assistance from the Power Company of Wyoming Chokecherry Project 

Phase 1 and of Pre-Treatment Plant 

February 15, 2022

$675,000 

State Land and Investment Board (SLIB) Minerals Royalty Grant (MRG) 

Design of our blow-offs; design and installation of cathodic protection on our main 32-mile steel transmission line. 

Grant received June 2, 2022 

  • USDA Rural Development Loan: We are currently working through the environmental assessments stage of this loan application, which includes approval from eight state and federal agencies. We are also in discussion about the engineering required to apply for the loan.  We are also continuing to compare the benefits of alternative loan programs as they are found, such as the forgivable DEQ/EPA Rural Water loan, which will require similar processes. 

For more information on water projects, as well as our water system as a whole, please visit www.rawlinswy.gov/water. You can also contact Mira Miller, City of Rawlins Community Relations Coordinator, at 307-328-4500 ext. 1022.

Monday, July 25, 2022


Beginning today, a $250 fine will be issued immediately for irrigation violations. Water levels in the treated water tanks have dropped consistently throughout July. Community water use has increased to around 3 million gallons a day while the flows from the springs and wells have decreased, as is common in the summer.  

If water use does not go down, “Limited Water Use” will likely be declared, and all outdoor irrigation will cease. Water restrictions will be in place all summer and may become more strict if flows continue to decrease from the springs and wells.  

The City is currently: 

  • Pausing all park and cemetery irrigation until further notice. Parks will likely be watered every other week moving forward. 
  • Using water from Peaking reservoir at a low rate, due to its unusually high turbidity.  
  • Switching water flows from the the existing woodstave pipeline to the new 10,000 feet of PVC pipe.  
  • Our contracted engineers made their initial review of the Water Pretreatment Plant, and our staff is in the process of ordering the necessary equipment and parts, as well as cleaning and preparing the plant. After the review, it is now clear the plant will not be online this watering season.  
  • Preparing to hire an engineering firm to design the blow-offs and cathodic protection on our main 32-mile steel transmission line funded by the $675,000 State Land and Investment Board (SLIB) grant 
  • Finalizing a $7,452,173.91 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) 2022-23 Grant for replacement of a portion of the wood stave pipeline and spring boxes in the Sage Creek Basin and provide repairs to the 32-mile pipeline from Sage Creek Basin                   

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Update as of 6:00pm: Tank level is now above 16 feet. The tank is 20 feet tall and holds 1/2 million gallons. 
- - - 
Update as of 12:30pm: Power has been restored to the Sinclair Water Tank operations vault. The water tank level is now above 8 feet. 
- - -
Originally published at 9:45am: 
Sinclair Residents: Please see the message from Mayor Leif Johansson: Town of Sinclair. The Sinclair water tank is currently being filled. Conserve water throughout the day. Do not irrigate today 07-06-2022. Thank you.
- - - - 
On Sunday night, July 3rd, a lightning storm damaged the City of Rawlins’ Water Treatment Plant SCADA system, which is used to gather and analyze data to initiate and monitor processes. Without this system, alarms and monitoring cannot happen as normal. The City of Rawlins contacted our SCADA contractor, and on July 5th, the contracted SCADA company began working to repair the system. 

The Sinclair Water Tank operations vault was also without power. Without power, their tank did not automatically refill. Due to these two factors, the Sinclair Water tank did not refill as normal, and no alarms were received. The pressure loss was not significant enough to require a boil water advisory. City of Rawlins and Town of Sinclair operators manually opened the valve to fill the tank as soon as the issue was discovered. 
Sinclair residents are asked to conserve water on July 6th, 2022. The half-million-gallon tank is expected to take 16-20 hours to refill under limited water use.  


June 21, 2022

The City of Rawlins recently made three major achievements in our water infrastructure projects:  pipeline installation in the Sage Creek Basin, delivery and installation of screens for Filter #1, and received a $675,000 State Land and Investment Board Mineral and Royalties Grant (SLIB MRG).
For the replacement of some of the woodstave pipeline in the Sage Creek Basin, Rocky Mountain Industrial Construction Services (RMI) has installed the PVC pipeline parallel to the existing woodstave pipeline for the full 10,000 feet. They are now testing the pipeline, and will then switch our active flow from the woodstave pipeline to the PVC pipe. Once the flows have made it to the treatment plant, we will be able to judge how much additional water has been recovered. This project was funded by City Council last fall using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and Impact Assistance funds from the Power Company of Wyoming. Thanks to RMI for their hard work through the weather and rough terrain this winter and spring!
Our water treatment plant has also received the final screens for Filter #1, which were ordered in August 2021 and funded by Impact Assistance funds from the Power Company of Wyoming. They were delayed due to manufacturing and shipping issues, but have now been installed and are fully operational. This means all four Water Treatment Plant filters are completely functional, although this summer our team has been able to keep up with the reduced spring flow without a 4th filter. 
Lastly, the City of Rawlins received the second-highest award amount given by the State Land and Investment Board (SLIB) on June 2nd. This $675,000 grant is for the design of our blow-offs and cathodic protection on our main 32-mile steel transmission line. It is also to construct the cathodic protection. Due to this grant, we are able to immediately jump into this as our next phase without waiting. We are currently working with the USDA to apply for their low-interest loans which do have a component of principal forgiveness, but this can be a very lengthy process. We are also eagerly awaiting the application period for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and ARPA funding on July 1st.  


May 19th, 2022

Quick updates on what you can do on our website!  
** Sign a petition to our state officials to fund water infrastructure repair grants! https://www.rawlinswy.gov/382/Petition-for-State-Water-Funding
** View data on water available, use, and treated tank levels! https://www.rawlinswy.gov/381/Flows-and-Storage-Data
** Watch the Water Town Hall from Thursday evening and "Maintaining landscapes on Limited Water" from Carbon County Extension! https://www.rawlinswy.gov/380/Video-Reports


Early May Updates: 

In May this site was extensively updated. Some of those updates were accompanied by videos linked below. 

May 14, 2022 Video

May 11, 2022 Video

April 29th, 2022

The City of Rawlins is under water restrictions for the watering season beginning today.  As with most of Wyoming, we are in a drought which is worsened by our infrastructure issues. Without pulling together to conserve water, our community will likely drain our tanks, experience boil-water advisories, and potentially lose fire protection.
We currently receive around 1.5 million gallons of water a day into the treatment plant and consistently use 1 million gallons per day for household use. Our flows are half of what they were last year at this time. In the summer, water use increases to 3 to 6 million gallons of water per day because of outdoor watering. This obvious shortfall in water supply needs to be taken seriously to have water available for our community. If our community waters the same amount as last year during restrictions, we estimate that our water tanks would be completely empty by mid-to-late June.
We have reached “Level D” as defined in Rawlins Municipal Code 13.10. Although the code does allow for more substantial restrictions to be placed, for now, the restrictions are set as:
*Residences/businesses may only water one day per week before 10 am or after 6 pm. Even-numbered residences/businesses may water on Thursdays and odd-numbered residences/businesses may water on Monday. We recommend a maximum of up to sixty minutes of watering for each zone/area of turf on the designated day. We will monitor for excessive water use due to the severity of our situation.
*Trees, bushes, gardens, etc., may be watered as needed using a manually operated hose with an automatic shut-off valve before 10 am or after 6 pm.
*Do not allow water to run onto or pool in gutters, streets, and sidewalks.
*Vehicles may be washed only using a manually operated hose with an automatic shut-off valve. Please only wash when you feel it is absolutely necessary and use the minimum amount of water possible.
*Washing parking lots, sidewalks, or driveways with water is prohibited except for construction, safety, and health reasons.
*Any water that can be conserved will make difference. Even the simple things, such as turning off the water while brushing teeth and fixing dripping faucets, will make a difference when done by our whole community.
*The University of Wyoming Extension Office has many resources to offer scientific advice on water prioritization, vegetation water needs, and the design of lower-water use landscapes. These will be posted at rawlinswy.org/water. The Extension Office also offers one-on-one consulting. Please call  307-328-2642.
If you have circumstances that require more water, such as newly laid sod, please email crelations@rawlins-wyoming.com or drop off a letter during regular operating hours with a request for a permit that explains why your circumstances deserve an exception to the current restrictions. Please make sure to include your contact information and address. We will get back to by the next business day at the latest. 
Our ordinance allows for fines from $250-$750 for breaking the water restrictions. At least one warning will be given per residence to ensure everyone is aware before receiving a fine. Water use will be monitored by city staff throughout the town and through our meter reading software.
Typically, our Parks Division begins irrigation in late April. However, public safety is our City’s first priority. Parks Superintendent Tyrell Perry said, “We recognize the importance of water for public safety and that will be the main consideration this summer.” The Parks Division is postponing all irrigation of turf at this time; and will be meeting with the Water Division on a regular basis to see what watering can occur through the summer. Our parks, green spaces, and sports field will likely be brown and dry this year. We understand that the restricted watering will likely be seriously detrimental to the long-term health of our parks.
The City of Rawlins and the Carbon County Extension Office will be hosting a Town Hall regarding our water infrastructure, need for water restrictions, and watering prioritization on May 19th at 6 pm at the Jeffrey Center. We encourage the public to attend and ask questions as we discuss wise water use, the current state of infrastructure, and the water restrictions. This will also be broadcast live online.
Council is currently working to amend Rawlins Municipal Code 13.10: Water Use Management, and public feedback is welcome.  It is scheduled for discussion and review at the City Council meetings on May 3 and 17th. These meetings are held at City Hall, 521 W. Cedar, at 7:30 pm.  
The City of Rawlins has been working diligently this winter on our water infrastructure, including allocating over $2 million in repairs to our water infrastructure this year alone, and applied for over $11 million in grants. We are also actively pursuing grants and loans for our major water infrastructure improvements which will exceed $15 million.  Currently, 10,000 feet of woodstave pipeline is being replaced in the Sage Creek Basin, the source of our spring water.  We are also working to bring the pre-treatment plant back online to help clean river water. However, until these projects are complete, we cannot estimate what impact this will have on our water supply.
For a copy of our report on water infrastructure and the critical water event this March, visit rawlinswy.org/water or call 307-328-4500 to have a copy mailed to you. It was also included in the City View. For a City of Rawlins Water Treatment Plant tour, please call 307-328-4564.  For more information, please contact Mira Miller, City of Rawlins Community Relations Coordinator, at 307-328-4500 ext. 1022.