Distribution Map


Frequently Asked Questions


What is the proposed 4th Avenue Well project?

The project consists of construction of a building that will house Salt Lake City’s existing 4th Avenue Well, a groundwater well pump and associated infrastructure. Salt Lake City’s 4th Avenue Well is a critical water supply for Salt Lake City. The 4th Avenue Well and its associated pump currently exist in an underground vault at this location. The infrastructure is proposed to be brought to the surface in order to meet current safety and environmental requirements.


Where is the proposed project located?

The proposed project is located immediately north of the intersection of 4th Avenue and Canyon Road, within Canyon Side Park. The proposed project will impact the southwest quadrant of this park. 


Why is the 4th Avenue Well project necessary?

Worker safety and public safety are driving the need for this project.

  • Worker Safety:

    • Public Utilities employees currently must maintain the well, pump, and electrical systems in the existing underground vault. This puts our employees at risk for electrical accidents. The current configuration does not allow proper distancing for high voltage electrical maintenance and the site does not meet current electrical code (NFPA 70E). 

    • The site is currently operated using electrical voltage that is no longer serviced by the electric utility, Rocky Mountain Power.  The electrical system must be updated to ensure ongoing utility function and operation of the well. 

    • The existing underground vault does not drain, which violates Utah State Code R309-540-5.  Our workers are at risk from both water and electrical hazards when working in the vault.

  • Public Safety:

    • The top of the 4th Avenue Well is located in the existing underground vault.  Should the vault be flooded, sedimentation or pathogens could be introduced into the well and compromise drinking water quality, putting public health at risk.  See Utah State Code R309-515-6, Environmental Quality, Drinking Water.

  • In addition, flooding of the well vault would impact the electrical components of the pump and motor and could render the well inoperable.

  • The 4th Avenue Well is an integral part of Salt Lake City’s drinking water system.  This project will maintain the long term viability of the well, benefiting Salt Lake City residents, businesses, and industries. 

  • The 4th Avenue Well provides a reliable source of high-quality drinking water and necessary pressure for fire flow. This means our firefighters have adequate water pressure to fight fires—as evidenced by the rapid response to recent blazes at Beck Street and Victory Road, the Salt Lake City Airport, and Ensign Peak.


Why do you chlorinate the well water? 

Chlorine is used for two primary purposes in our water system: 1.) to disinfect the water and 2.) to maintain a residual amount of chlorine throughout the water distribution system. We are designing chlorination at the site for the second purpose. The residual chlorination protects users throughout the distribution system who are served by the well. The 4th Avenue Well water is of sufficient quality to not require disinfection. However, this well services 12,000 connections (which means many thousands of people), including much of downtown Salt Lake City (between 80 and 100 percent of their water when the well is in service). By maintaining this chlorine residual we are fulfilling our primary function in the community: to protect the community public health.

What is the well service area?

The 4th Avenue well is one of the most-productive wells in the Salt Lake City Public Utilities system. When in service, the well provides water to 12,000 connections including much of downtown Salt Lake City.  There is a map located on the documents page which shows the service area of the well and is color coded to indicate the percentage of well water in each area.  A significant portion of downtown and the surrounding area receives between 80 and 100 percent well water when the well operating.

What would the 4th Avenue Well building look like?

The final design of the building’s footprint and exterior has not been determined. Public Utilities has contracted with an engineering design firm, architect, and landscape architect to develop building alternatives for the proposed 4th Avenue Well project based on public input. Public Utilities is also coordinating with the Salt Lake City Planning Division, Salt Lake City Historic Landmark Commission, and the community. Public feedback is very important to help guide the best designs that meet community values while maintaining functionality of the 4th Avenue Well and associated water infrastructure.  

Will trees need be removed to accommodate the proposed 4th Avenue Well building?

Yes. The design team will work to keep the structural footprint as small as possible, but some trees would need to be removed to accommodate the building. Public Utilities is working with residents, a landscape architect, Salt Lake City Parks and Open Lands Division, Salt Lake City’s Urban Forester, and the Salt Lake City Historic Landmarks Commission. Our goal is to limit tree removal as much as possible.


Are there feasible alternatives?

Public Utilities has heard significant concerns from the residents living near the 4th Avenue Well. Residents are concerned about (1) the aesthetics of a building within the park open space; (2) alignment with the character and historic nature of the neighborhood; (3) the removal of trees; and (4) possible noise impacts.


The current project proposal brings an existing well with a known dependable water source up to safety and environmental standards. The project would not require purchase of property, construction of additional water lines, drilling of a new well, additional groundwater pumping, or changes in the water distribution system. In addition, the current project proposal does not change the point of diversion of the groundwater resource, and therefore would not require a water right change application process. For these reasons, the current project proposal is the most efficient, reliable, and cost effective alternative. 


However, based on public feedback, Public Utilities is evaluating other alternatives. These include abandonment of the current well and re-drilling a new well in another location; and leaving the 4th Avenue Well in place, but moving the equipment to other nearby locations.  For each option Public Utilities is considering dependability of the water source, water quality, cost, land ownership, water rights, impacts to the community, and operational feasibility. 


What kind of noise levels can we expect in the area?

Sound mitigation is included in the engineering design process. 

  • Noise may emanate from three potential sources on the site, including the heating and cooling system, the motor for the well pump, and a possible onsite emergency backup generator.

  • The engineering design process at least follows Salt Lake County Health Department noise control standards. In a single-family residential neighborhood, these rules are:

    • Between 10:00 pm and 7:00 am: 5 Decibels (dBA) above ambient sound not to exceed 50 dBA.

    • Between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm: 10 Decibels (dBA) above ambient sound not to exceed 60 dBA.

    • As reference for decibel range, a conversation in a restaurant or office, background music, or an air conditioning unit at 100 feet are examples of approximately 60 dBA. 

    • Sound attenuation design features will be incorporated to help comply with these requirements.

Would chemicals be stored on site?

Chlorine is proposed to be in liquid form to inject into the water at the site. Both chlorine and fluoride are regulated by the State Division of Drinking Water and Salt Lake County Health Department and are required in Salt Lake City’s water system (see Utah State Code R309-520-7 and Salt Lake Valley Health Department Health Regulation #33).


What would be the activity level at the proposed facility?

During operation, city personnel visit the site twice daily. During non-operations periods the activity could range from daily to weekly. 

What is the proposed project schedule?

For the proposed 4th Avenue Well building, construction would be anticipated to begin no sooner than October 2019 and completed no later than May 2020.  Actual site work is anticipated to be 4-6 months.  Pursuing other alternatives would likely significantly prolong this schedule.


How can I get involved?

There are several ways to stay engaged and involved.

  • Provide a written comment to the Planning Division at:

  • Attend a meeting of the Historic Landmark Commission when the project is scheduled for discussion. The Commission meets the first Thursday of each month in Room 326 of the Salt Lake City and County Building. Meeting agendas are located here:

  • Planning Staff reviews all public comments and thoroughly analyzes each comment in relation to the review standards.

  • Reach out to your applicable community council. Request presentation time on the agenda if possible. SLCDPU has made several presentations and discussed the 4th Avenue well project with community councils and would be happy to do so again. For a list of recognized community councils and organizations in Salt Lake City, please visit:

  • Share your views and comments on the “comment here” page of this website. The website will be regularly updated during the design and construction process and public engagement specialists will reach out to residents with pertinent and transparent information.

What public outreach efforts have there been so far?

Public Meetings to date:

  • August 16, 2018 – Open House to present design concepts

  • September 6, 2018 – Work session with Historic Landmarks Commission

  • July 11, 2018 – Greater Avenues Community Council meetings

  • October 3, 2018 – Greater Avenues Community Council meetings

  • July 18, 2018 – Capitol Hill Community Council

  • February 7, 2018 – Work session with Historic Landmarks Commission

  • March 7, 2018 – Work session with Historic Landmarks Commission


Salt Lake City
Department of Public Utilities

1530 West Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah 84115