A long-awaited and much anticipated master plan for the Pine-Strawberry water district was endorsed at the group’s recent board meeting.
Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District (PSWID) Treasurer Mike Greer enthusiastically endorsed the 2012-13 proposed budget and master plan at a Feb. 23 board meeting. Greer’s budget includes $100,000 to hire an engineering firm to study the current water system and develop an infrastructure plan for the district’s future.
Developing a long-term plan has been a goal since PSWID acquired the aging, poorly maintained Pine and Strawberry Water companies in 2009 from Brooke Utilities. A master plan will allow the district to overhaul the system methodically rather than making patchwork repairs.
The proposed budget also includes plans to accelerate the district’s water replacement program and invest in Milk Ranch Well No. 3.
Greer told the audience that replacing out-of-date and inaccurate water meters could save the district $100-150,000 per year.
Digging a third Milk Ranch well, Greer says, will eliminate the district’s reliance on existing water sharing agreements and save about $93,000 per year.
The budget also includes plans to conduct a leak detection survey and repair leaks that Greer estimates could save $50-60,000 per year.
District manager Brad Cole also gave the board updates on the Milk Ranch No. 1 and Milk Ranch No. 2 projects. At the first well site, Cole said, “the majority of the work is complete” but some work continues on the retention pond, fencing, pressure testing and chlorinating the distribution system.
Next, the district needs the approval of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ).
At Milk Ranch No. 2, Cole said, APS is working to install power to conduct a 30-day pump test. To secure power, PSWID must build an elevated pad for the well head. A planned APS transformer will be located about 250 feet from the well near the Prudential building and Pine Hardware.
The budget also includes $150,000 to inspect, clean and repair five water tanks to store water from the Milk Ranch wells.
Cole said the tanks have never been cleaned or professionally inspected. The five 300,000-gallon tanks are located in Portals II, Portals III, Strawberry View I and Hardscrabble Mesa.
Also at the meeting, Cole presented a $22,983 refund check to the district from CH2M Hill, the water company operator, for overpayments on fuel, chemicals and repairs.
The rebates are specified in the management agreement between PSWID and CH2M Hill.
Finally at the board meeting, chairman Gary Lovetro asked member Mike Claxton to inform the Gila County Recorder that four current members will be up for re-election next fall. They are Don Smith, Tom Weeks, Richard Dickerson and Lovetro. The remaining members’ terms expire in 2014.