Pine-Strawberry Well Contaminated


Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District officials have shut down Strawberry Hollow Well 3 after routine tests proved positive for E. coli and total coliform bacteria.

PSWID District Manager Brad Cole said the well first tested positive for bacteria in December 2012 after crews replaced the well pump and motor. The test was performed at the 300,000-gallon tank.

Strawberry Hollow has another smaller tank that stores 140,000 gallons and a secondary well that supplies the subdivision’s 20 customers

Almost immediately after receiving the tests results, the district shut down the SH 3 well. Cole remains certain no contaminated water ever reached the distribution system.

The test done was for “total coliform,” which “is used as an indicator that something else might be going on,” said Cole.

Total coliforms include bacteria found in the soil, surface water and in human or animal waste.

After shutting down the well, PSWID officials treated it with what Cole calls “two very hot chlorines treatments.”

However, attempts to get the well back on line in March were halted when further bacteriological tests detected E. coli.

“The well was not placed back into service and will remain off until chlorine treatment is added and several (clean) bacteriological test results are achieved,” Cole said.

In an effort to correct the problems, workers are currently removing the well pump and motor to hyper-chlorinate every surface of the well casing, column pile and pump and motor.

Officials, however, are not sure where the problem originated.

“It is undetermined if the well is the problem or it’s in the water aquifer,” Cole said.

Many homes in the area rely on septic tanks, which can pollute groundwater.

“It is unknown if there is any relationship to the septic tanks,” said Cole.

With summer rapidly approaching, Cole wants to safely get SH 3 back on line because “every well is needed during the peak summer months and holidays.”

In the summer of 2010, the PSWID board approved the purchase of the Strawberry Hollow Well for $450,000, which they hoped would boost the district’s water supply by 30 percent. Owner Loren Peterson originally asked $475,000 for the well, land, building and filtration system. The well was pumping at 20 gallons per minute, but thought able to pump 120 gallons per minute.


Pam Mason 3 years, 9 months ago

Strawberry Hollow well was purchased August 10, 2010. Original estimate was for $210,000 but we paid $450,000.

This year there has been a total of four PSWID meetings (one was for rules and regulations) and in addition the Town Hall Meeting with Supervisor Martin.

The Strawberry Hollow Well was turned off either in December or January. Nothing was mentioned about the e.coli matter at the February PSWID public meeting. It was not even identified as a line item on the District Manager's slide presentation at the March 28 meeting. Had a board member at the March 28 meeting not asked the status of the well, would we have ever been told about it? Why was this information not reported to the public before? Surely it is too significant an occurrence to have been an oversight.


Deb Schwalm 3 years, 9 months ago

This board wants to be treated with respect yet they are still hiding facts from the public. This was CRUCIAL PUBLIC information! How can we trust the actions of the PSWID Board when they keep hiding things from the public????


Bernice Winandy 3 years, 9 months ago

Back in 2012, perhaps at the November PSWID Board meeting, mention was made of an investigation/inquiry by the Arizona State Auditor. Has that investigation been completed? What were the findings?

I think PSWID needs some transparency!! Many good feelings came out of the Town Hall that was led by Tommie Cline Martin. I hope PSWID does not squander those good feelings by continuing the inverted triange approach that it has used in the past. The inverted triangle was discussed at the Town Hall and easily describes PSWID--decisions made without adequate information given to the general public and without public support.


michelle wintrich 3 years, 9 months ago

Thats beautiful- poison the customers.Lovely.No one ever told this year round customer.


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