I would like to offer a different perspective on the discovery of coliform bacteria in the water supply at a restaurant in Pine. The April 27 newspaper story indicated a lack of response and cooperation on the part of Brooke Utilities, aka Pine Water Company. My perception differs from the one represented in that story.
Brook Utilities has created a very efficient system for communicating with customers in Pine and Strawberry by e-mail. A notice was enclosed in water bills some months ago notifying customers how to have their e-mail address included in the distribution list. While this is not a perfect system, since not every household is connected to the Internet, it still is a very efficient and well-utilized communication medium for many of us.
I received two e-mails from Brooke Utilities on April 26. The first acknowledged the report that bacteria had been identified in independent Gila County Health Department tests and reported that Brooke Utilities' monthly test at various points in the water system had not indicated a problem. The e-mail went on to say that the water company was conducting additional tests, and as soon as results of those tests were available, customers would be notified.
The second e-mail reported that Brooke Utilities' follow-up tests also indicated the presence of coliform bacteria in one area of the water system, while showing that no e-coli of fecal contamination was present. Upon receiving the results of the test, the e-mail said, Brooke Utilities immediately began treating the water in the affected portion within 24 hours. The e-mail stated that the situation was not acute and did not require the boiling of water. It ended with an explanation that coliform contamination is not uncommon in rural areas of Arizona and frequently occurs when a water line break allows silt, sand and other particles found in the ground to enter the system.
Personally, I find Brooke Utilities' response to this situation to be more than adequate. I've been a customer of Brooke Utilities for two and a half years and am a relatively new full-time resident of the Pine area. I am aware that some people in this community do not hold Brooke Utilities in high regard. However, my participation in meetings of the Pine-Strawberry Improvement Association and the Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District, which frequently are attended by a Brooke representative, has made me aware of Brooke Utilities' current attitude of commitment to provide good service to this area. In these meetings, it is evident that there is a new spirit of cooperation between the water company and local organizations working to find both short- and long-term solutions to Pine's water shortage problem. In addition, every time I have called Brooke Utilities' California call center, the phone representatives have been very responsive and helpful.
My suggestion is that we all keep an open mind, put the past behind us and work together in a spirit of cooperation to solve community problems.
Louise Jacobsen, Pine