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Irrigation pipe fixed after failure that left some Weber County farmers without water for days



OGDEN — This spring, large amounts of water can be seen flowing all across Weber County. But for some surrounding farmers, last week felt like a drought.

Crews with Ogden City excavated an area at the intersection of Canyon Road and 12th Street after a hole in the ground emerged June 7.

Dennis Illum with Western Irrigation Company learned an irrigation pipe that belonged to the company failed. Illum said the pipe was aging and had likely been in the ground since the 1940s.

“There’s probably about 5,000 separate users that use the water and there’s probably close to 20,000 acres under cultivation in different places,” Illum said. The pipe provides irrigation and secondary water throughout Farr West, Harrisville, Plain City and parts of Ogden.

Illum said there were several challenges and setbacks to fix the pipe, due to its proximity to utilities like gas, electricity and even drinking water, that would have required Illum to wait 72 hours for an emergency order from Ogden City.

“We finally got them to agree that it was an emergency, and we still lost a couple of days there,” Illum said.

After all the hurdles, Illum said things went “pretty smooth” when it came to working with other stakeholders to fix the problem. “It was like a half a day to put the pipe in and get everything lined up.”

Illum said some water was diverted from other water sources to help some of the people impacted. But not everyone, including John Chugg, was as lucky.

Chugg grows corn to feed his Jersey cows on his farm. He was left without water for a week. “(The corn) will never be as tall as the corn that has a little bit more moisture to it,” he said. “I was worried whether it was going to make it and how long it would be to fix.”

In hopes of preventing more damage, Illum said he’s working with engineers to figure out how to fix nearby pipes that might need repair soon.

Despite the lack of water, Chugg and Illum both said that this could have ended up a lot worse.



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