Cool Clear Water Part II
Stephen Schmidt
Mayor City of Tombstone

I currently get a lot of questions about the water situation ranging from the Lawsuit to what is the Shovel Brigade. Inquiries as well as advice come from all over the spectrum. I spent 22 minutes one day talking with a very nice and concerned gentleman on how to dig a ditch by hand. I cannot say that I learned anything new or revolutionary, but his main points were that teamwork and rotation produce the best results. After the conversation I did feel that he had far more experience and expertise in this field than I would ever want to have.

As far as the Smoked Bear Shovel Brigade goes, the first point I would like to make is that the City of Tombstone does not sanction this endeavor. This is a 501(c)(3) Corporation out of Nevada that has stepped in to help the City raise funds for Attorney’s fees as well to expedite some of the repairs. There is not a City employee that I know of, that is on the Board of this Corporation. Any funds or resources that the City uses will be accounted for and compensated. For everyone involved I hope this endeavor comes off with out a hitch.

I have stated several times that for everyone lining up on our side there will be someone lining up on the other side. The Lawsuit appears to be being lost at every turn, but it is interesting how fast it is proceeding through the Court System. Whether the Suit is right or wrong I do not know, like most people I believe that I know right and wrong, but then there is legality. If I were a lower tier court judge I would look at the Suit and think what is the easiest way to pass it on because any decision made for either side will just be appealed anyway. If I were a higher court judge I would want the lower courts to do as much of the background work as possible and as such would not allow the Suit to jump straight to the top. In other words this will probably be going on in the Court System for a long time.

Another popular question is do we have water? Yes, we have water. The flow from the springs is down, as it normally is this time of year, and we can still pump from Well #2. The worst thing that can happen to the City is if Well #2 goes down for some unexpected reason, which would leave us to count heavily on the springs.

I seem to get asked a lot if the mining activity of the past created the arsenic levels in the water? I do not know if this is suppose to be an environmental question saying that mining is bad, but no arsenic is not a by-product of mining. It occurs naturally in certain mineralized formations.

When a well is drilled normally they hit first water and then continue to drill down until they get a good flow rate of water in the well. There could be water filling the well from different levels at different rates, and if one level had arsenic it would end up in the final product from the depth of where the water was being pumped. If this were the case, that there is one level that contained arsenic, there is a process by which the level producing the arsenic could be located and sealed off. This process is very costly and may not solve the problem if the arsenic coming into the well was from multiple levels.

The big question is always, what are we doing at the springs? It is a vital part of our water distribution system both for blending and economics.

Currently the City is working with Gannett Fleming an engineering firm that deals with water and wastewater services on putting together numbers to try and get an Emergency Rural Development Grant to make permanent repairs to the springs, the aqueduct, and the Reservoir. Of course the grant is depended upon the City proving that they own the rights to the springs, so here we go back to the lawsuit.

The County Recorder is working with the City to establish parcel numbers for the individual springs and this would help to show ownership. Of course then the parcels need to be surveyed and recorded. Everything seems to take more time, just like dealing with the Government.

There are a lot of good people on our side, the County Supervisors, Representatives, Senators, and the list just-keeps getting longer. But, as I stated before for everyone lining up on our side, there is someone lining up on the other side. The City appears to be getting a lot support on the local and state levels, but we need more support on the federal level. As one can see it is getting very complicated, and I am not sure the way I understand the situation is exactly correct, but I hope this answers some questions.