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Going through well construction by Arrissia Owen of The Grizzly

by admin on February 9, 2012
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Sugarloaf Well

Sugarloaf is getting a new well.

Saw this in The Grizzly this morning and wanted to share.  I’ve always found it interesting that the Big Bear Department of Water and Power only provides water….it doesn’t provide power.  All of our power at the present time comes from Bear Valley Electric.  I thought this was informative to the residents in Sugarloaf.

Going Through Well Construction
By Arrissia Owen Reporter

The Big Bear Lake Department of Water and Power worked around the clock Feb. 3-5 in Sawmill Canyon in Sugarloaf. Contractors reached the bottom of a 600-foot hole to case the new Sawmill Well.

The casing was installed, and the contractor placed the gravel pack between the oversized hole that was drilled to 570 feet below ground and the casing.

Constant drilling was necessary, says DWP General Manager Reggie Lamson, because as the clay expands it can undo the work or sand can fill the gravel pack. “The longer it is open, the more probability it will collapse,” Lamson says.

On Feb. 6, the 100-foot deep concrete seal was placed on top of the gravel pack, which seals the well from surface water contamination, Lamson says. The Department of Public Health inspected that portion of the well construction.

The contractor will now develop the well until it produces clean water, which may take a week or two. Once the structure produces clean water, then a test pump will be inserted and the DWP will determine its ultimate capacity, which is hoped to be about 150 gallons per minute.

When testing is finished, the Sawmill Well will be capped and the pumping plant will be designed, Lamson says. If funding is secured, the well will be equipped during summer 2013, Lamson says. Lamson hopes it produces enough water to supply lower Sugarloaf’s water needs for 24 hours with only 12 hours of pumping.

While there was a lot of activity and noise from construction crews, many of the neighbors in the area are part-time residents. One neighbor complained that the contractor’s equipment encroached on his property, and it was removed. The DWP worked out a verbal agreement that the property would be cleaned up to his satisfaction, Lamson says.

Sugarloaf resident Denise Proffer has been front row during a test hole drilling process for a potential well at Maple and Rinehart lanes in Sugarloaf. She was not given notice by the DWP, she says, although another neighbor was.

“Having gone through what I did 24 hours a day looking out at this drilling site, I can imagine why neighbors would be upset if it’s going on next to them,” Proffer says. “It really is a horrendous thing to go through.”

The DWP received complaints from residents during the Rinehart Lane project. Water Resource Manger Bill LaHaye and board commissioner Fred Miller visited the area to talk with residents and apologize for the inconvenience. They also gave out gift certificates to Maggio’s Restaurant as a gesture to express their concern and understanding.

The hole was drilled to 800 feet below the ground surface. “Unfortunately, well drilling does not always produce a good producing water well and this test hole was not good, so we filled in the test hole and abandoned the site,” Lamson says. “Some clean up still needs to be done and the property owner will be compensated for letting us use their property for a test hole.”

Had the test hole at Rinehart been successful, the DWP would have purchased the property and drilled a full-scale well like the one at the Sawmill site, Lamson says. It would have ultimately pumped to the proposed upper Sugarloaf reservoir.

Contact reporter Arrissia Owen at 909-866-3456, ext. 142 or by email at

About Sugarloaf

Sugarloaf is an unincorporated residential area less than a mile south of Big Bear City on the east end of town.  The name of Sugarloaf was taken from one of Big Bear’s largest mountains located just to the south of it.  The zip code for the community is 92386.  Click here to view homes for sale in the Sugarloaf area.

According to the Big Bear MLS (multiple listing service), here are the real estate statistics 2011 for the Sugarloaf area:

  • Average Sales Price in Sugarloaf- $98,218
  • Median Sales Price in Sugarloaf- $90,000
  • Average Days on Market in Sugarloaf- 92 days
  • Average Price per Square foot in Sugarloaf- $104.34
  • Median Price per Square foot in Sugarloaf- $105.04
  • Average Sales Price to List Price Ratio in Sugarloaf: 94%
  • Total Residential Sales in Sugarloaf in 2011: 119 days

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