The world’s largest provider of services to the oil and gas industry was hired by BootJack Management Company to cap two geothermal wells in downtown Pagosa Springs this week. The geothermal wells are located on property between the Archuleta County Courthouse and Fifth Street, adjacent to the former Chevron station.
“The casing lining on the wells is worn out and water is seeping out all over, endangering the courthouse.” David J. Brown said. “Halliburton will cap off the old wells and we will have to drill new wells.”
Halliburton completed work on the wells Dec. 20.
Brown and his company, BootJack Management, purchased the property from Lou Poma this year. Fuel tanks at the site were removed during the summer and demolition of structures at the site began this week. Next spring, according to Brown, the area will be planted and kept as open space until a development plan is finalized.
“It will be a minimum of two years. We are currently master planning the site,” Brown said.
The geothermal wells on the property were drilled in 1955 as a favor to Vic Poma, Lou Poma’s father. Vic Poma moved to Pagosa Springs in 1944 and bought the station, which consisted of two hand-crank gasoline pumps. He purchased a 10-foot square building and started a business that he would own until 1985, adding lots, bays and buildings. In 1955, a seismograph crew spent a month in Pagosa Springs searching the area for uranium. After each day’s work, Vic Poma would keep the seismograph trucks in good repair, working on them all night.
“As a token of their appreciation, they asked if he would like a couple of hot water wells and drilled them for him for free,” Lou Poma said.
Over time, the casing linings corroded. “They’ve been there for fifty years,” Poma said. “The minerals in the water eat through the metal.”
Lou Poma inherited the metal building with a full basement that was once Western Auto. In 1990, Poma bought back the service station and convenience store on the neighboring property and converted the old Western Auto into a Big O Tire store.
In 2001, Poma approached Archuleta County and offered to sell the county the property.
“I offered it to them for $650,000,” Poma said. “They knew then that they needed to expand the jail and they had just got a grant or something.”
The county passed on the offer, even though the property was appraised at $990,000 in 1999. BootJack Management purchased the property in 2005 for $1,050,000.
“I wanted to get out of there pretty bad,” Poma said. “I had enough.”
Poma said he never had any problem with the geothermal wells. Water problems he had at the site in February 2005 involved plastic piping under the concrete that utilized geothermal water to melt snow on the driveway.
“One of the plastic pipes leaked right over the filler pipe of the fuel tank,” Poma said.
Three hundred gallons of water ended up in the 8,000-gallon fuel tank. The tank was not full and no fuel ever spilled. The tank sensor went off, but staff of the Mataya’s Chevron, which rented the convenience store and gas station from Poma, did nothing and several customers unknowingly filled their auto tanks with water instead of gasoline.
As for the tearing down of property that once belonged to his family and his thoughts on the future, Poma said, “Hey, life goes on.
“The filling station died in 2005 and it’s going to be replaced with something newer and hopefully something to benefit the town,” Poma added. “Mr. Brown is going to use the hot water, and God bless him; I didn’t have the money to do it and he does. He’s going to make it bigger and better and nicer than I ever could. As far as what he is doing – I think it’s fantastic for the town.”