Salt Lake County Service Area #3 (the "Service Area") is
a government water/sewer district located in Little Cottonwood Canyon at
Snowbird. The Service Area supplies water to the Snowbird Ski Resort and the
western portion of the Town of Alta. The Service Area also provides operation
and management services to the Town of Alta by contract to operate their water
system as well. The areas served are mainly recreational ski and summer resort
The Wasatch Drain Tunnel (the Drain Tunnel) was constructed during the period
of 1912 to 1916 by Wasatch Mines Company to drain water and improve ore
transportation efficiencies from approximately 50 miles of silver, lead, copper,
and zinc mines, deep within the Little Cottonwood Mining district, Utah. The
Drain Tunnel, long since abandoned as a mining operation, is now one of the
water sources at Snowbird, Utah, not only for domestic water uses, but
snowmaking and electrical power plant (co-generation) cooling purposes as well.
The tunnel also provides an important discharge of water to Little Cottonwood
Creek, the main tributary of Little Cottonwood Canyon and the Little Cottonwood
Mining District of Utah.
In 1985, the Service Area completed installation of a unique steel and
concrete bulkhead structure, designed to dam water in the tunnel Through the use
of this device, the Wasatch Drain Tunnel stores water in various mine tunnels
located above and adjacent to it.
The Service Area and the Drain Tunnel provide important resources necessary
for culinary, energy and snow making uses as well as aesthetic, public and
wildlife uses in the stream. While the Drain Tunnel does possess the necessary
positive characteristics of a valuable water asset, good management practices
are still most essential and needed in this operative situation to always insure
that this resource provides the best for the Snowbird area, canyon and valley
communities and ecosystems. The continuing management of this asset will insure
that it will remain useful for generations to come.
It is imperative to never go into an abandoned mine without proper
supervision or equipment as severe injury or death could result from cave-in,
collapse or numerous other catastrophes.
Carbide Lamp used in the Mines. Water dripped on the carbide produced a
flammable gas used for illumination.
Carbide Tin used to store extra carbide for the Carbide Lamps.
Carbide needed to be kept dry until used.
This picture shows a truck being loaded with Ore for a trip to
the valley. The "banana wagon" on the right takes waste rock to the mine dump.
Doug Evans sitting on a muck pile from a cave-in in the Wasatch
Another example of Carbide.