In a letter to the editor that was published in the April 18, 2008 issue of the Payson Roundup, I addressed the reasons why it is important for the future Pine-Strawberry water district to own its own source of water and why completing the K2 well prior to purchasing the water companies makes more sense than relying on private wells as the major source of water.
In that letter I urged the PSWID board to do due diligence in determining the water quality, capacity, and operability of both the Milk Ranch and Strawberry Hollow wells before deciding to rely on those two wells for our water future.
In that letter I stated my understanding that that the two wells have problems.
That the Milk Ranch well has had problems with sand that has resulted in multiple pumps being burned up, that the water quality has not been tested, and that there has not been a sustained yield test done.
That the Strawberry Hollow well also has similar problems with sand and that it has been offline all winter.
Since that letter, I have received further information on the Milk Ranch well. There has been water quality and sustained yield testing of the Milk Ranch well and these can be viewed on our Web site: www.WaterForPineStrawberry.com. Mr. Ray Pugel, part owner of the Milk Ranch well, has stated to me that there have been no pumps burned up. Sand is a problem for the well, but he feels that there will be a solution for it.
That letter also indicated that the proposal for connecting the Milk Ranch well would only provide additional water for the southern and western portions of Pine. This was based upon testimony that Mr. Bill Haney, current chairman of the PSWID board, gave to the ACC in support of Mr. Pugel's efforts to withdraw from the Pine Water Company CC&N. In that testimony, Mr. Haney indicated that the Milk Ranch well could be hooked up to a nearby 4 inch main for a cost of $20,000 and that would allow the well to serve the southern and western portions of Pine. Addition of a booster would make a portion of the water available to the rest of the system.
I have done further research and found that the area that the Milk Ranch well is in is isolated from the rest of the water system by pressure reduction valves. These valves would prevent any flow of water from the Milk Ranch well to the rest of the system. Connection of the Milk Ranch well will require running a new main to one of the storage tanks at a significantly higher cost than that indicated in the testimony.
While the additional information about the Milk Ranch well is good news, it does not remove the need for the board to examine the water quality, capacity, and operability of both wells before making decisions on how best to secure an adequate water supply for Pine-Strawberry.