Photo by Wendy Howell.
Water haulers in the Williams area will now have another option for filling their tanks with the recent reopening of the Red Lake water station on State Route 64.
Residents were abruptly turned away when the station closed under a previous owner in August 2017, and users were diverted to Bearizona or to far reaching stations at Parks and Valle.
Tammy Ontiveros, the owner of the Shell and 76 Gas Stations on North State Route 64, recently purchased the water station property, including the business and the rights to the well in Bellemont, and has reopened the water station.
Ontiveros has owned the two businesses in Williams for 23 years and is familiar with the water hauling needs of residents near her stores.
“My family— great-grandparents, parents — have lived in the area for nearly 100 years,” Ontiveros said. “I’ve always understood the value of water and the value of having a source of water.”
Ontiveros said when the previous owner stopped operating the water station, she realized the impact on local residents and felt it at her own businesses.
“One of the things that really made me think of this was realizing the amount of water use that I go through on an annual basis at both stores,” she said. “It’s a lot of money. Now I can haul my own water which is much less expensive.”
It took Ontiveros four months to secure the permits, and go through testing, compliance and other clearances to open the station. She now not only owns the station but also the water rights to the wells in Bellemont where the water is hauled from.
“Now people can literally just come across the street,” she said. “The safety factor was on my mind as well as the convenience and savings for people.”
Ontiveros said she hopes to open a second standpipe in the future at the 76 Station approximately four miles north of the Shell Station. She said she is also considering opening a residential water delivery program.
Ontiveros also has other commercial properties in the area that she plans to develop, and when the water station closed last year she found it cost prohibitive to continue those plans.
“This new venture is a game changer and will open up opportunities for future growth,” she said regarding the availability now for affordable water.
Ontiveros said the response from local residents has been positive.
“They are thankful for the convenience that has helped ease the burden of hauling their own water,” she said. “It was hard on people when the station shut down last year.”
Ontiveros said she plans to keep the station as a cash operating system, just as it was before it closed.