Rim Country Water Group Explores Service Alternatives

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Alternatives for service from the Pine Water Company were explored at the most recent meeting of the Rim Country Water group.

The group met Jan. 19 and heard reports from fellow citizens regarding the distribution system of Pine Water and creating a domestic water improvement district.

Michael Greer, owner of Hatcreek Electric, Inc. presented information on the water distribution infrastructure for Pine and Strawberry.

He said he was unable to receive information from PWC or the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District Board.

The information came from previous owners of the water companies, as well as past and current employees of Brooke Utilities. Therefore complete and current information was not available.

"We do not have a water problem, but we do have a utility problem," said Greer. His illustrations showed uncertified wells, inappropriate types of piping, lack of storage, lack of hydrants and more.

He also identified the number and location of the various wells for both communities and their approximate water production.

Greer proposed an action plan to provide for the immediate hook-up of the private wells; start repairs and replacements in problematic areas, using methods that would "seal off" breaks, but still allow water to flow to other areas.

The Rim Country Water group has been told that private well owners would be willing to sell their excess water to a new district at a reasonable rate. It is believed the combination of resources from the private wells and the two existing water companies can currently produce enough water to serve the needs of both communities.

Rim Country Water participants contend this can be done without water that might be found at the K-2 site, therefore the $300,000 loan is not needed, according to Fred Krafczyk.

Steve Morken discussed how the residents of Pine and Strawberry could form and own their own domestic water improvement district. He made his presentation based on numerous conversations with companies familiar with water issues and organizations specializing in municipal finance.

Morken said the two water companies and the Magnolia Line could be purchased and a substantial amount of money could be placed in escrow for storage tanks, a capital reserve account, repairs and maintenance and drilling another deep well. He said this could be accomplished without an increase in water billings, Krafczyk said.

"Again, the result would be water to both communities in a much shorter time frame and much lower cost," according to Krafczyk.

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