The year ahead in Pine Haven

By Sarah Pridgeon

Infrastructure is the word of the year in Pine Haven, wh

Grace Moore photo
Mayor Larry Suchor.

ere Mayor Larry Suchor notes that two big projects for 2018 have already been approved – though a timing issue has put the third one on hold.

“We’re going to place some sewer line and, of course, we are still working on our water system. We have a tank approved and funded and we’re working on our well, though we don’t know when that’s going to be approved,” he says.

The elevated tank is expected to provide Pine Haven with more water pressure and fire protection, according to the mayor.

“Those two projects, the elevated tank to give us more pressure and fire protection, and the sewer line, I’m quite sure they can go. We’ll probably bid out the sewer in a month and a half, it’s a small project at around half a million dollars,” he says.

However, plans to install a new well have been placed on hold due to the issue of dry and acidic wells near Carlile, Suchor explains. Until the Department of Environmental Quality has a clear understanding of what has caused that problem to suddenly occur, it is reluctant to approve new water projects in the vicinity.

“There’s kind of a moratorium from the DEQ as far as well drilling and fracking, at least for now, due to those Gillette wells. That has kind of stymied everything,” he says.

“We did have our permit at one time, but when we bid it out, the prices came in so high that we couldn’t afford it. With that happening, we went back and made a lot of modifications to the contract to take some payment out of there and, of course, we had to go back to the DEQ and get permission for a second time. That’s when this water thing came up.”

It’s hard to tell when the issue will have a resolution, Suchor points out.

“We will have a lot more activity after we know about these wells, because we don’t know if they are going to allow it this year, next month or next week – we really don’t have a timeline. Right now, we’re at their mercy and we don’t know when we’re going to be able to put that to work,” he says.

In the meantime, Suchor trusts that Pine Haven’s current system will continue doing its work reliably.

“Our system has been pretty good and working good, so hopefully it continues to do that and we won’t get into a problem with water. We’ve only got one well and one pump, and a used pump besides,” he says.

The Pine Haven council schedules a planning meeting at the beginning of every year to consider the projects it would like to pursue in the near future. Watch this space, says the mayor.

“We’ll have a lot more activity and knowledge after the second meeting. We hope to have a lot more information in February because we’ll know where our funding is,” Suchor says.