Water Documenters: Read meeting notes from the Metropolitan Water District of Salt Lake and Sandy

The Sept. 18, 2023 meeting approved transfer of funds, as well as worker safety reports.

Water Documenters is a collaboration between The Salt Lake Tribune, Great Salt Lake Collaborative and City Bureau.

The Scene:

There was a very light, upbeat feeling in the room. Many of the contributors and board members were chatting, laughing occasionally. The only board member on time, Patricia Comarell addressed me, introduced herself, and gave me a business card if I had further questions. The meeting started approximately 15 minutes late because the board members were on a tour of the Little Cottonwood Water Treat Plant (located on the same property where the meeting took place).. Board members, Donald Milne and John Kirkham were both not present, but excused by the board. There were approximately 20 other people in the room. While not being on the board, many were employed by the city. Reference to the board of trustees: Board of Trustees.

Community Perspective: There was one public commenter, Bob Worther. He explained that he has a Master’s degree in civil engineering, so he had some experience in the area. Worther was concerned because there is a water well (water well 4) directly behind his house. Worther explained that his USAA insurance would not cover the property damages and neither would national flood insurance in the case that there is seepage from the well.

The board chair, John Godfrey, said that he would refer to their engineering manager to address his concerns and “get back to him”. When asked to give the risk of the water well seeping, Godfrey could not name a percentage. There was a great understanding between the chair and the community member, in an overall agreeable interaction.


  • Approve survey and worker safety reports.

  • Transfer $500,000 to the fiscal year 2025, for easement expenditures. This was not additional money into the easement expenditures, just moving it to the following year.

  • Make sure they don’t favor any individual manufacturer for the Salt Lake Aqueduct project.

  • Approving the sale of some older vehicles in their fleet. A 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 selling for $9,250 and a 2012 Dodge Ram 2500 for $9,600.

  • Acknowledge increased turbidity in water resulting from Deer Creek dig site.

Any disagreements: There weren’t any disagreements in this meeting,which explains why every motion passed unanimously. In fact, there appeared to be a great deal of respect between all the board members. Patricia Comarell made sure to recognize the efforts of each individual speaker for their work. She brought a very kind, caring energy to the room.

What was passed:

All motions passed unanimously

  1. Consider approval of Amendment No.3 to the SLAR-CC project.(Tab 1)

  2. Consider approval of Arc Flash Analysis and Breaker Coordination Study (BP020)

  3. Consider approval of JSSD Amendment No.2 (BP021)

  4. Consider approval of capital budget transfers (BP048)

  5. Consider approval of changes to Policies and Procedures Chapter 16 (BP050)

  6. Consider approval of vehicle surplus (Tab 2 - BP067)(Tab 2)

  7. Consider Acceptance of financial reports (Tab 3-BP069)(Tab 3)

  8. Consider approval of Board Meeting minutes dated August 7, 2023 (Tab4- BP077) (Tab 4)

Agenda Link: Agenda

Additional Notes:

Utah’s drought numbers are down significantly due to the high amount of snow received last winter. Little Cottonwood Creek is running 30-40% higher than the previous year. While there is a risk of algal blooms in some of the waterways, since the water is cold and moving, this risk is diminished. 3.1 million was approved to address a combination of other city-level water projects. One group member remarked “wonderful” after being shown Utah’s drought chart. There was a light chuckle among the room after this remark. A reference to this information can be found at: Tab 6. The Arc Flash Analysis and Breaker Coordination Study would cost $149,700; but the board members did not seem to be worried about this price. Many cited the benefits to workers safety as why it is so necessary to conduct this analysis and study. Additionally, the board members addressed promotions and retirements of some of the employees.

Summary of what was passed:

Most of what was passed was to confirm budgets for projects. Some of these included a surveying budget, studies into worker safety, and accepting the budget for several waterway projects. The total amount of money approved today was approximately 3.6 million dollars.

Water Documenters is a collaboration between The Salt Lake Tribune and City Bureau and funded through a grant from the Great Salt Lake Collaborative. College student journalists from all over Utah are hired to attend and take notes at public water meetings in Utah. These notes are then published for anyone to read or use. The project is aimed at providing better public access to meetings where major decisions are made about a limited Utah resource. To read more meeting notes, click here. For more information on the project, click here.