Anza Water situation and recap

Posted On February 16, 2010

Here is the latest update on the Anza Water situation. This will include a recap of the events including how since the board found out about the issue in the first place. It is based primarily on emails that have been written by various board members and those involved in the events. I want to thank Barbara Toy, Alan Smallbone, Don Lynn and Gary Schones for their involvement and quick action on handling this important issue. Since different people got involved at different times, a bit of a time line on the Anza water situation might be in order; I will not be naming names except for those board members where appropriate. The situation began on Thursday 2/11/2010: A couple of members arrive at Anza and stay, per their usual practice, at Anza House. They find that there is, at most, a trickle of water at Anza House and no other water on site. They take no action to notify anyone on the Board, or those members that typically do a lot of work out at Anza about this situation. They continued using the toilets, “flushing when they could.” Friday: several other members arrive at the site. Around 3:30pm, a message was posted to the AstroImagers Yahoo group that there isn’t any water at Anza, which Alan happened to see on his Blackberry. Again, no attempt was made to contact anyone on the Board directly about this. Alan called Barbara to let her know about the water problem when he saw the general email that Rick sent Barbara called Craig ( Both of whom were on the road before the general meeting). After discussing it, they agreed that the best course at that point was to call off the star party and let people know by all the avenues possible about the problem. Between then and the meeting, Alan and Barbara made a lot of phone calls to get more information about the situation and possible options. Alan talked to Gary, who said that it appeared that the pump was running all the time but there was very little water coming up, just enough to give Anza House a trickle. The tank at the top of the property is drained, so this problem had been in existence for a while, though we were not aware of it. Gary suggested calling Dave Radosevich to see who they used when they had a well problem. Barbara called the property Dave has with John and Jim at Anza and talked to John Kerns, who told her what he knew of the situation with the well. Later on, he agreed to post notices at Anza House and the front gate about the water situation and that the site was closed, and said that he’d turned off the breaker for the pump (which was a big relief to Charlie). After a few attempts Barbara was able to get a hold of Dave who gave us the name of the well repair service they use. Before the meeting the board and I discussed the situation, sometimes in groups of two and sometimes in larger groups with the other board members who were present. Everyone that Barbra and I talked to were in agreement with closing the site, as there were no working toilets and no prospect of getting the well functional in the immediate future. As there were over 6 board members present which represented a quorum the board came to a quick decision on this. Alan found a listing for the pump company that Dave gave Barbara the referral for, and while Craig and our vice president dealt with all of the regular meeting issues, Barbara called the pump company and was able to make arrangements for them to come out to evaluate the situation on Saturday. They were very clear that they wouldn’t be able to do any repairs on Saturday, and, we were told they would most probably have to pull the assembly out of the ground to find the problem, which sounded like either a leak in the pipe or a failed pump. The pump is 300 feet below the surface, so this isn’t a simple procedure. In further discussions with Don and Charlie at the end of the meeting, Charlie told us about a big spike in electrical usage at the site over the last month, which Don quickly calculated to be about 1000 KWH. This could be accounted for by the pump running continuously as it attempted to pump the water for a month or so. Saturday: Barbara and Alan were able to procure a Port-a-potty and deliver it on Saturday. That arrived around 2:00, and hopefully stopped the people who stayed on site from continuing to use the non-functioning toilets. Since there wasn’t even a trickle of water making it to Anza House after the breaker was turned off, there was no flushing possible unless someone poured water from another source into the toilet tank. Let me be clear the placement of the port-a-potty was not intended to allow us to continue to use the Anza site as usual, Since it would be quickly overwhelmed during a star party. It was intended as a stopgap measure and to provide some relief for those who refused to leave the site. The well repair guy showed up and after they pulled up the assembly, what they found was pretty consistent with a pump, etc., that have been in operation and submerged for over 20 years. The pump is “worn” and had a lot of sand in it and we know that it had been pumping sand for years. the impellers were worn out, and it can only produce about 1 gallon per minute. Obviously, that’s not sufficient for our needs, and it will only get worse if it continues in operation. The galvanized pipe above the pump, which has also been submerged since the well was put in operation, also needs to be replaced, and they will replace it with PVC. They will also replace the wiring, which is also showing signs of age. It is expected that the pump and associated parts will be replaced this week probably on Wednesday. The board still requests that members stay away from Anza until the situation is resolved later this week. There is no drinking water and no working toilets. I’ll post more updates as they become available.