Sv Water Report: Good News Gusher

Rates low, improvements mount – reserve still huge

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Star Valley’s town council had good news from Water Department Superintendent Robert Rippy Tuesday night.

The town will have a water master plan in hand once Rippy and Town Manager Tim Grier review the draft and send it back for final revisions to Tres Rios, the engineering firm developing the plan. The plan has been in the works for some time, funded with money from the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona.

Even without a formal master plan, the town has improved the system since buying it from Brooke Utilities in 2012.

Emergencies have triggered some of the project, plus some added high-priority fixes. Even so, the town has protected its roughly $3 million in reserves and contingency funds.

Rippy said the town has replaced a third of the nearly 400 meters. “We wanted to take care of the worst of the worse,” he said. Another one-third of the meters are under review for replacement. The town’s Milky Way Well site work is on track, Rippy said.

The town also got a bargain when it came to inspecting, cleaning and repairing the water storage tank in The Knolls. The town expected to spend tens of thousands and received one bid for $70,000 — but the low bid came in at just $2,960.

The inspection, done by LiquiVision Technology Diving Services of Klamath Falls, Ore., found the tank in good condition with a little blistering, which the company repaired. The tank also had surprisingly little sediment on the bottom.

Rippy said the only “debris” found in the tank were a lighter and a valve — and the valve was in good enough shape to use in another system repair.

The company recommended using the information from the project as a baseline and then having it checked again in three years for any additional work.

Area well monitoring also resulted in good news: Water levels rose in almost every well between January 2013 and December 2013, Rippy said. He added the quality of the water in the system has also been good.

While work on the Milky Way Well site continues, the department is also working to get the town hall and perhaps neighboring properties connected to the Knolls Well. It is also still working to improve a small well site referred to as the Quail Valley Project. The work would make the well accessible if needed and a small building is planned for the property to serve as a shop for the water department. The town will use federal Community Development Block Grant money.

“We’re making a good system with great backups and good connections with Payson. I’m waiting to see what happens when the recharge from Blue Ridge starts,” Rippy said, referring to the anticipated arrival of water from the C.C. Cragin (formerly Blue Ridge) Reservoir into the Payson system.

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