I’ve mentioned before that the Little Cottonwood Canyon stream is empty for part of the year, as the water is diverted into collection points, sent to treatment facilities, and then included in the municipal water supplies for the greater Salt Lake City metropolitan area. There is a time of the year, however, when the stream is allowed to run, as it contains too much water from the snow-melt to be collected in its entirety. I rather enjoy the stark contrast in the images of the empty stream-bed and the full and rushing stream.
This photo was taken in April, 2012 before the season’s snow-melt…
And this photo was taken at the same location in July, 2011 during the height of the season’s snow-melt…
There is a water pipe, or two of them maybe, that run(s) from two water collection points in Little Cottonwood Canyon and down into the greater Salt Lake City metropolitan area, where the water that it transports is treated and then used in the municipal water supply. Sometimes the pipe is underground, sometimes running directly next to the stream on the bank, crossing the stream suspended by steel cables, on pylons from one creek bank to a nearby hillside where it disappears again, or somewhere else between stream and trail, tucked away among the various trees and brush that populate the wooded area on the mountain-side. I’m not sure when the water collection points were built, but it appears to have been several decades ago.
On one of my hikes this past winter, I found a sheet of muddy ice that extended down the trail for 30 or 40 yards, until it veered off into the brush. Continuing up the trail, I discovered that the pipe had burst and the water ran unchecked for some time. I don’t know if the controllers at the main water collection point downstream noticed a decrease in pressure, or if a hiker notified the authorities that they had sprung a serious leak, or what, but I saw that the pipe had been repaired, and after examining it, didn’t think much more about it. The technicians used a novel method that did not involve removing the split pipe and replacing it with another section. It was composed of a metal band that appeared to press a rubberized material against the gash, all bolted down secure and working as designed.
So…where am I going with all of this? A couple of weekends ago, one of my older sons and I were returning from a hike up into the canyon and my son happened to see a large section of pipe that had been removed from the main pipeline. It had been tossed into the brush and allowed to remain there…for what appears to have been many, many years. The section of pipe was likely removed because of a leak that refused to remain repaired…. The failed old-school repair has provided a beautiful nursery for life….
And lastly, this is the repair from winter of 2011…quite an advance in pipe-repair technology….