Currently, the City of Orem is in great shape for the upcoming years. Through planning and good water management, Orem has the water to meet its needs and will continue to obtain more water to meet the needs of our continued growth. The City currently has 22,440,000 gallons of emergency storage. This storage will last the City about 48 hours during the winter, but will only last the City 11 hours in the summer with the higher usage by the public.
The reservoirs that supply the communities of Salt Lake and Utah Counties experience changes throughout the year. As the snow pack melts reservoirs fill to capacity and the water is stored for needs later in the season. During years of sustained drought, snow packs cannot replenish reservoir levels and the lake levels drop. This not only effect recreational activities on the lakes but also severely hampers the ability of communities to supply water to residents. Orem’s leadership has acquired enough water in Deer Creek and Jordanelle to meet the needs of its residents.
Current reservoir levels are available by contacting the Central Utah Water Conservation District.
Snow Pack Levels
Orem and the other communities in the west, get all of their water supply from the spring runoff. When this water seeps into the ground to become ground water that we can pump or collects in river systems and stored in reservoirs, it all comes from the annual snowfall. Snowfall is so important in the west that snow levels are monitored on a daily basis. These levels are very important to the continued development of this area.
For current snow pack levels, visit the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s SNOTEL Data.
One of the best ways to prevent damage to your home is to Know where the main shutoff to your home is located. It is normally located near where your service line enters your home from the street. This valve will shut off all water to the interior of the home. Know where this valve is and turn it on and off twice a year. Exercising the valve keeps is in working order and alerts you to possible problems with the valve. By performing regular maintenance on your water fixtures, you may minimize or avoid damage in the event of a leak.
If you are experiencing problems related to water, sewer or stormwater, call 801-229-7500 during normal work hours (7:00AM-3:30PM, M-F). If you have an emergency after hours, call police dispatch at 801-229-7070.
Main Water Shutoff Problems
The packing nut is the primary cause of leaking water from the valve. The packing nut is located on the stem of the valve beneath the handle. Leaks from the packing nut are usually caused by turning the valve on or off and loosening the packing in the process. A simple tighten with a wrench should take care of the problem. If the valve is too tight to turn, sometimes loosening the packing nut slightly, will allow the valve to be turned more easily.
The main shut off valve should never be used for pressure regulation. Doing so will inhibit the valves ability to close off completely in an emergency and reduce the amount of water available to your home. Install or have a Plumber Install aPressure Reducing Valve to help with this problem.
Presssure Reducing Valve (PRV)
Improperly adjusted PRVs are the most common cause of pressure problems in homes. An improperly adjusted PRV can cause damage to appliances or filters and lower water pressure to undesirable levels.
Pressure Reducing Valve Adjustments
To adjust your PRV, simply place a pressure gauge on the effected side of the system, have someone watch the pressure as you adjust the set screw with a wrench until the proper pressure is achieve. Check your appliances manuals to find the correct pressure setting to keep from damaging them.
Water Heaters are an important part of a homes plumbing system and must be maintained in-order to operate safely and efficiently every water heater should be fitted with a shut off valve. Turning this valve off and on, yearly will exercise the valve and help to prevent the valve failing when it is needed. Water heaters should also be flushed yearly to remove material from water lines that may have settled in the tank. This will help extend the life of your water heater. Every water heater must have a functioning thermal protection valve (T.P. valve). This is a high temperature emergency relief valve that will vent the tank should the internal pressure become so great that it may damage or burst the tank. A T.P valve is not designed for constant venting; if you have a valve that is always venting you may need to replace the valve.
Your water heater may also have a backpressure relief system. As water is heated it expands and this can produce as much as ½ gallon of water in your water heater. If your home doses not have a back flow prevention device in it system, this extra water will flow back into the water mains. If your home has been fitted with a backflow prevention device, the excess water will be contained within your home and could damage water lines and fixtures. Homes with backflow devices should be fitted with a system that will drain the excess water to a suitable location such as a floor drain or pressure expansion tank.
Additional Valves in Your Home
You should also have valves to turn off individual fixtures in your home such as a sink or toilet. These valves are located near the fixture and operate the same as the main shutoff in your home.
The City of Orem regularly samples the water system to make sure citizens are getting the highest quality water that it can provide. With a dynamic water system such as the City of Orem’s, the water does not always come out of the tap as good tasting and clean, as it should. City personnel are continuously trying to stop these problems from occurring, but even with our best efforts they sometimes do happen. While most common home water quality concerns do not pose a health risk, we know you still want your water to taste, look and smell as good as possible. Most of the problems that may occur in the home are simple to treat, and can be quickly resolved. Use the information on this page to learn about which water quality concerns are safety risks, and which ones you can easily treat to improve your water’s taste, color and odor.
If you don’t see your water quality concern listed here, please call Public Works at 229-7570. If it is after business hours contact Public Safety at 229-7070.
Drinking Water Source Protection Plan
The groundwater that is used by the City’s wells is pumped from deposits of sand and gravel deep below the City. The water from Orem’s spring collection areas is produced by snow and glacial melt from Mt TimpanogosThis water flows through the ground until eventually emerging from the rock formations that make up the walls of Provo Canyon. These spring collection areas are isolated from public use to maintain their quality. The City of Orem has a Drinking Water Source Protection Plan (DWSP) that is designed to protect the integrity of our drinking water supplies and system. The City also works in conjunction with the Central Utah Water Conservancy District (CUWCD) water purification plant to help maintain Orem’s high quality of water.
Wellhead Protection Zones are a part of the City of Orem Water Utility’s Drinking Water Source Protection (DWSP) effort. These zones indicate groundwater travel times for culinary wells within the city boundaries. Groundwater travel times are an indication of contamination hazard for city wells. For example, if a pollutant was dumped within the yellow (3 year) zone, that pollutant would travel to and contaminate a culinary well within 3 years.
The general types of potential contamination sources that exist within the DWSP Zones for Orem’s wells and springs include sewer lines, golf courses, unimproved and improved roads, residential properties, and industrial/commercial areas. These potential contamination sources are adequately controlled by our commitment to an aggressive watershed protection program, which we consider our first line of defense in assuring the quality of your drinking water.
Residents and businesses should notify Orem City of any accidents or hazardous waste spills that occur within the City or canyon areas. Residents and businesses should also take an active role in protecting their drinking water sources through the proper use, storage, and disposal of fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, cleaners, fuels, oils, and household chemicals. These safeguards and other requirements are addressed in our Watershed Protection Ordinance, which is an important component of our DWSP Plan.
During 2008 the city collected nearly 1,414 bacteriologic routine water samples annually. Routine samples are collected at various locations throughout the City. These samples determine chlorine residual and water quality. The City of Orem has never failed a routine sample! The city collected 31 investigative bacteriologic samples from residences and business that had concerns about water quality. 398 Investigative samples were collected on all new water line installations to ensure the quality of the line and verify the absence of bacteriologic organisms. All of the sampled areas came back with no bacteriological problems.
The Hydrologic Cycle or Water Cycle
This cycle describes the movements of water through condensation, precipitation and evaporation.
Evaporation: occurs when liquid water is converted into a vapor or gas.
Condensation: is where the water vapor or gas converts back into a liquid, often resulting in cloud formation.
Precipitation: as water condenses in clouds it becomes heavy and falls to the earth as rain, snow, hail, and sleet.
Interactive Water Cycle Link: http://epa.gov/safewater/kids/flash/flash_watercycle.html
Where Does Water Come From?
Orem’s Water Sources
Surface Water: water that is found on the surface of the earth such as rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.
Ground Water: the water that is found under the surface of the earth in the form of shallow springs or deep aquifers.
The water we use in Utah, both surface and groundwater comes from spring rains and snowmelt. This water recharges the lakes and streams and seeps into the ground to replenish the aquifers.
How Does Water Get to Our Homes?
Water from snowmelt and rain is collected in lakes and reservoirs to be used later in the year. 57% of Orem’s water comes from rivers and lakes, otherwise referred to as surface water. This water needs to be treated for it to be drinkable by humans. This water is piped into large facilities like the CUWCD Utah Valley Water Treatment Plant that is located on the east bench in Orem, to treat and clean the water that is then put into large pipes for distribution to cities like Orem.
27% comes from groundwater that Orem uses are supplied by deep wells throughout the City. 16% comes from springs located in Provo canyon.
Water Distribution Systems
After water is collected from springs and Well or treated at water treatment facilities it is put into large pipes the run through streets to bring the water to your home. Once it is used another system of pipes collects the water and transported it to waist treatment facilities to be cleaned and reused for things like irrigation.
How Do We Obtain Ground Water?
Deep wells: the water is brought to the surface by large pumps and pipes.
Orem maintains and operates eight deep wells located throughout the City and is currently planning for new wells to meet the needs of the growing population. The quality of the water that is produced by Orem’s wells is pure enough that the ground water does not require any type of filtration or purification. This water can be piped directly into the distribution system.
This water is under pressure and flows to the surface on its own without the aid of pumps.
The City of Orem maintains the rights to two natural springs in Provo Canyon. The Alta Spring and Canyon Spring collection areas are Orem’s oldest sources of water. Located in Provo Canyon, they were developed by early settlers for crop production.The Alta Springs located high on the mountain in Provo canyon; these springs are Orem’s purest water source. Glacial melt from Mt. Timpanogos feed these springs. Due to the elevation of the Alta springs collection area; they do not require pumping like wells that makes them a cheap and valuable asset to the City.
The Alta Springs located high on the mountain in Provo canyon; these springs are Orem’s purest water source. Glacial melt from Mt. Timpanogos feed these springs. Due to the elevation of the Alta springs collection area; they do not require pumping like wells that makes them a cheap and valuable asset to the City.
The Canyon Springs are located near the Timpanogos Park; this system is fed like the Alta Springs, by glacial melt from Mt. Timpanogos. The amount of water that these systems produce is based upon the snowfall, so the water produced can vary greatly from year to year.
Water is a Renewable Resource
Water is a renewable resource and can be reused over and over again. The water we drink today is the same as the dinosaurs drank millions of years ago.
With only 1% of the Earths water being usable by man, the water we have is vital to maintaining life, as we know it. Pollution can severely damage the little water we have available to us. Pollution can come from many sources like improperly disposing of used motor oil and antifreeze. These materials should be taken to an appropriate disposal site and not poured on the ground or in the gutter. Over fertilization of lawns can also impact surface and ground water making these sources hard to treat or unusable. If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t pour it on the ground.
Just for Kids Links
How to Locate and Read Your Water Meter
Your water meter is typically located near the front sidewalk under a metal lid, in a metal or plastic can.
If covered, lift the lid and write down the four black numbers and then write down the two or three (depending on meter type) numbers in white, similar to writing down your odometer in your car. The meter reads gallons of water.
* The contents within the meter box are the property of the city of Orem, but can be used in an emergency.Please contact Public Works at 801-229-7570, if it is after business hours contact Public Safety at 801-229-7070 for assistance with you water meter.
Determining if You Have a Leak
Locate your meter and the shutoff valve to the building. This shutoff valve is usually located near the point where the water line enters the building. If you do not have a shutoff valve or it dose not work, we recommend that you replace or have one installed by a knowledgeable professional. Shut the valve inside the building and shut off any sprinklers that may be connected to the service line. Open the meter lid, check and see if the small red dial near the center of the meter is rotating. If this dial is moving there is water leaking from the service line between the building and the meter. If the dial stops, check sprinklers and indoor plumbing if a leak is still suspected.
* The contents within the meter box are the property of the city of Orem, but can be used in an emergency.Please contact Public Works at 229-7570, if it is after business hours contact Public Safety at 229-7070 for assistance with you water meter.
If you hear or see water running even if the meter dials are not moving please contact Public Works at 229-7570. If it is after business hours contact Public Safety at 229-7070.Water personnel are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to assist you if you have any problems
Keeping Your Water Meter Accessible
The City of Orem reads your meter monthly depending on your account type. Please keep your meter accessible so that City employees can quickly read your meter and record an accurate reading.In the event of an emergency, such as a leak, they can shut the water off to your service quickly, helping to minimize damage. If a meter reader can quickly collect a reading from your meter on the first visit to your property, this helps keep utility costs down, which benefits all customers in helping to keep rates stable.
Trees, bushes and plantings
Trim bushes, trees, and grass that block the way or cover the meter. During the growing season, plants can cover a water meter box very quickly.
Please minimize plants in the area that meter readers must travel to get to your meter. We would like to avoid any accidental damage to your prized plants
Keep pets away from the path that leads to your meter.
If you have a guard dog for security, please let us know so that we can make sure that our meter readers and other utility personnel are aware of this.
We may ask that you arrange to confine the dog during the day that your meter will be read.
Objects that cover or block your meter
Please make sure that objects are not placed so that they cover or block access to the meter box. Items we have found blocking water meters include cars, trailers, garbage cans, recycling bins, construction equipment or supplies, landscape bark, and gravel.
If your meter is located behind a gate that is normally kept locked, please contact us to arrange access.
Please ensure your house address is clearly displayed on your residence. This also assists emergency personnel who may need to find your home in a hurry.
Keeping your meter covered
Please keep the lid that covers the meter secure, meter lids that have been tampered with can be very dangerous to children playing in the yard or anybody else that may step on the lid and get hurt.If you are having problems with your meter lid, please call Public Works at 229-7570. If it is after business hours contact Public Safety at 229-7070.
Keep the meter covered.During cold periods, frost can quickly freeze and damage the pipes on both the City and homeowner’s side of the service.If you are building a home, make sure that the lid remains covered and insulated during cold weather.
For some homeowners, they have a fire hydrant on their property.Fire hydrants need to me keep clear for repairs and for emergency purposes.The City requires a 36” clearance around the entire fire hydrant.See the Fire Hydrants Link
Flushing fire hydrants is one of the most important maintenance practices that can be performed on a water distribution system. This program is essential in maintaining and delivering clean water. If the weather cooperates, the City of Orem Water Section will flush the water system beginning April 21, 2014. This endeavor should take approximately four weeks to complete. During this time, you will see Water Section personnel in your neighborhoods flowing fire hydrants. This may cause temporary inconveniences with low water pressure or discolored water because sediment in the water lines is disturbed. Again, these inconveniences are only temporary and normal operations will be restored before personnel leave your area. When you see fire hydrants being flushed on your street, we recommend that you not use water inside your home. If you detect discolored water, do not drink the water or wash your laundry. While discolored water is not harmful to your health, it can stain laundry. After we have left the area, turn on one of the cold-water taps in your home for a few minutes to flush out your system. You can help in this effort by allowing full access to fire hydrants in your neighborhood. Please move parked vehicles away from fire hydrants in order to give personnel plenty of room to maneuver. In addition, you can help by keeping children from playing in the water as it flows down the street. Working together, we can minimize safety concerns. Many of the positive results of hydrant flushing are listed below:
- Corrosion Control. Flushing introduces higher than normal water velocities that literally scour the inside of water lines.
- Taste and Odor Control. Flushing removes many of the deposits, sediment, and other materials that affect water quality with respect to taste and odor.
- Chlorine Residuals. Flushing will allow the City to use less chlorine, but still maintain trace amounts in the water system as required by State and EPA regulations.
- Bacteria Control. Anaerobic bacteria growth in drinking water systems can occur when an area becomes stagnant, but can be eliminated through flushing.
- Fire Hydrant Exercising. Operating fire hydrants helps to ensure that they will work properly in times of emergency.
- Valve Exercising. Locating and operating valves helps to ensure they will work properly in times of need.
- Monitor System Operation. Flushing allows water personnel to evaluate hydraulic flows in water mains.
The City of Orem is aware of inherent issues associated with a project of this magnitude, particularly on the heels of a drought. We reaffirm the fact that we have an adequate supply of water to accomplish this task and provide enough water for the coming year. We are committed to conserving water, energy, and labor by flushing no more than what is necessary. The personnel you will see flushing fire hydrants have been trained in proven water system maintenance practices. Thank you for your cooperation with this project. If you have questions or concerns, please call the Department of Public Works Water Section at 801-229-7500.