Seven years after the District began collecting $2M annually from ratepayers to fund the $23M replacement of the remaining 6 miles of our effluent pipeline NO activities for its replacement are contained in the District’s 5-year Capital Improvement Project Budget.
Although more than $13 million has been collected to replace the pipeline, the funds have not been restricted. A portion of these funds have been used to fund other sewer projects.
The District has expended millions of dollars repairing sections of the pipeline identified to be replaced.
The Nevada Department of Environmental Protection (“NDEP”) has sanctioned IVGID for multiple pipeline spills and imposed requirements to ensure IVGID complies with Federal and State laws. They also decommissioned the effluent holding pond due to groundwater seepage concerns.
The District participated in a Federal grant application with the Tahoe Transportation District (“TTD”) to co-locate about 2 ¾ miles of the 6 miles of pipeline scheduled for future replacement in TTD’s proposed bike path from Sand Harbor to Spooner for potential cost savings. The grant application was not approved.
The District has a report from a pipeline testing company which was completed in 2018 and has hired an engineering firm to analyze the data. The results are expected to provide data on the condition of the pipeline. These results have yet to be reported.
The effluent holding pond was to be used in case of an emergency pipeline failure, repair or replacement. Since it was decommissioned by NDEP, standalone holding tanks have been used. These tanks have approximately 72 hours of capacity, depending on demand. Any emergency would need to be resolved within this capacity time table and may require trucking of the treated effluent.
The effluent holding pond is in need of the proper lining to meet NDEP requirements. NOTE: The District reported on 2018 Financial Reports the expenditure of $705,000 for lining the pond. Months later, citizens learned the pond had not been lined and is still decommissioned.
In March 2019, the District applied for an Army Corps of Engineer grant for financial assistance with the upgrade to the pond and design work for the pipeline. At the Board Meeting Director of Public Works stated that the District could receive approximately $1 million towards the cost of the $23 million pipeline replacement but was unable to determine if any funding would be available for the pond.
Until the aging infrastructure is upgraded, the District has risks of more costly breaks and risks to our health and our lake. Although the holding tanks are available for emergencies, the emergency effluent pond is a vital part of our infrastructure and needs to be addressed.
Trustee Peter Morris indicated that the Board has a written plan for phase II of the effluent pipeline project. I submitted a public records request for the report so everyone can understand the plan.