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Power line problems at Falcon Valley Ranch

Owner says tower is shocking cowboys and cattle
Posted at 2:49 PM, Aug 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-31 09:17:59-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Falcon Valley Ranch owner Grant Wilson is shocked, literally. He says eminent domain in the 1970s led to the installation of 100 electric power transmission lines on his family’s 50,000-acre property in Catalina.

“It’s scary. It sounds like standing under helicopter rotors you just want to duck because it feels like it's right above your head,” Wilson said.

Wilson had a shock 30 years ago at the family ranch and says the extra voltage is back. The latest round of shockwaves started two months ago while he was handling his cattle and horses. There are about 1,000 animals on the farm.

“We do have noticed some cancer problems into those pastures. We don’t know if it's directly related. When you shut off a truck under the power line you get shocked. When you grab a tool out of the truck you get a jolt. Last week we tried to pet our calf and it hurt. I was getting shocked so bad through my fingertips it was uncomfortable I couldn’t even pet her. I’m sure it wasn’t comfortable for her,” Wilson said.

The family says the problem area is near a 4,000-gallon water tank. That's where they see most of the activity.

"The power company came out and grounded the tank many times I think there’s 4 or 5 grounds on the tank now. I’ve taken a meter out there and put a piece of metal in the ground and got 109 volts, so I'm 11 volts from running a VCR,” Wilson said.

KGUN 9 spoke to Arizona Public Service transmissions and operations manager Sarah Kist about a solution. Kist says a change in humidity, wind, and weather can potentially affect how the towers operate.

"We monitor and endure that there’s not more than what is allowed from an engineering perspective to flow on those lines,” Kist said.

APS also released the following statement:

“Based on findings from the various inspections we’ve conducted these past several days, we are working to provide the rancher with potential solutions, such as moving the metal water tank and re-grounding the electrical tower. We will discuss these options with the family and work toward a solution.”

According to APS the towers were inspected in2020, 2017, 2011, and 2009, but we don’t have details on the results. "I do travel these roads every day checking water checking cattle so we’re probably under these power lines 2 to 3 hours a day every day,” Wilson said.