Well Connection Expected

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An evaluation of the Milk Ranch Well has been completed and while bank financing might not be in place, the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District is expected to soon begin connecting the well to the existing water system.

Those were the vestiges of what occurred during a Jan. 20 PSWID meeting in which the board negotiated a well purchase contract with owners Robert Randall and Ray Pugel for $400,000-plus and the agreement allows them to have several free meter hookups for any development they might begin.

Board chairman Gary Lovetro told the audience that the contract contained a clause that the district could pay interest only to Pugel until the balance is paid.

To most in attendance that meant the district can take possession of the well soon and begin the connection process until bank financing is obtained.

The vote to purchase the well was unanimous.

What did not occur at the meeting was an agreement to have an appraisal of the well completed before the purchase was finalized.

Not having an appraisal has been a thorn in the side of some water users in the two mountain towns who argue it is a poor business decision.

Former board president Bill Haney was among those who said the purchase should depend on having an appraisal.

At a May 5, 2010 board meeting, he cast the lone dissenting vote on the purchase saying he voted “no” because the board did not have a current appraisal.

Also a hold up to a purchase was the sand found in the water produced by the well.

Tucson geologist Chuck Dickens alleviated those concerns at the meeting telling the board his tests showed the well “could be pumped at a maximum rate of about 85 gpm and still produce groundwater that would exhibit acceptable concentrations of sand and turbidity.”

Earlier estimates of the well’s sustained pump rate were 120 to 180 gpm but at those speeds, the well produced excesses of sand.

While the exact purchase price of the well including past expenditures to improve and repair it, the $400,000 cash, value of the free meters, connection costs to the existing system and the purchase of a 25-horsepower pump are not known, estimates range from just over $800,000 to slightly less than $1 million.

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