After the touch-screen meter to a water standpipe was vandalized last week in San Tan Valley, two water companies worked together to provide emergency service to local residents.
On Thursday, March 20, someone smashed the touch screen that allows customers access to the standpipe to procure potable water at the Edwards pumping station at Magma and Edwards roads, Nick Myers, owner and president of San Tan Water Co., said during a phone interview March 26.
San Tan Water Co. delivers bulk water to customers who live on hauled-water properties in Queen Creek and San Tan Valley, according to its website. A standpipe is an above-ground pipe and faucet from which residents can pump large quantities of water, Mr. Myers said.
Johnson Utilities owns the San Tan Valley standpipe, which is intended for residential use only, according to JU’s website. Customers receive a personal identification number with which they can access the standpipe; they pay as they use the water, according to the website.
The closest standpipe is about 30-40 miles away, Mr. Myers estimated.
On March 22, Mr. Myers made an agreement with the standpipe’s owner, San Tan Valley-based Johnson Utilities, to obtain the water at a flat rate and deliver it to customers who could not access their account and needed water before the screen was repaired, Mr. Myers said.
“Understanding the most urgent needs of most of our customers and the customers who typically haul their own water, San Tan Water Co. is working closely to find alternative solutions,” Mr. Myers posted March 22 on his website. Later that day he posted Johnson Utilities had agreed to provide STWC with access to the standpipe and that he would be able to start deliveries after 4 p.m. that day.
The standpipe’s meter and control system were damaged during the act of vandalism; however, technicians were able to release the water using a manual valve, Mr. Myers said. To provide the emergency water, Mr. Myers coordinated with Johnson Utilities to send a technician to manually turn on the water and fill his 2,000-gallon delivery truck, he said during the phone interview.
The touch-screen meter was repaired and working Tuesday, March 25.
Mr. Myers estimated his company provided emergency water to eight to 10 residents who were not his normal customers and two residents who were among his regulars while the touch-screen was being fixed, he said. Many needed the water to feed their horses, he said.
The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office could not find a record of the vandalism in its records, PCSO spokesman Tim Gaffney said March 27 in an e-mailed response to questions. As of press time, Johnson Utilities had not returned a phone call and e-mail from the Independent asking for information about how the touch screen was damaged, the amount of the damage and whether it had filed a report with PCSO.
Mr. Myers said he has not seen “vandalism to this degree” during his two years in San Tan Valley.
“I don’t know if it’s an attitude problem or kids or something,” he said.