$3 million loaned to Incline for water treatment project

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The state Board for Financing Water Projects voted Wednesday to loan the Incline Village General Improvement District $3 million for its water treatment project.

IVGID Public Works Manager Joe Pomroy told the four-member board that construction has already begun on the upgrades needed to comply with federal law by 2014.

Michelle Stamates of the Division of Environmental Protection said those improvements include a much more efficient ozone treatment system at the Burnt Cedar Water Disinfection Plant. She said the new ozone system will cut the amount of oxygen used by as much as half, use nearly 20 percent less power and generate double the amount of ozone for treatment. It has the advantage of starting with some of the world's cleanest water, drawing its supply directly from Lake Tahoe. The new treatment equipment is designed to cryptosporidium, a germ that causes severe diarrhea and can survive even in chlorinated water. Pomroy told the board no cryptosporidium had been found in any tests of system water.

The total cost of the project is $5,978,000, and IVGID is paying $2.9 million of that from cash reserves.

Pomroy said the 20-year loan worth $3 million will allow IVGID to avoid rate hikes that could reach 30-40 percent more than are already planned. He said the average monthly water bill of $50 five years ago will be double that in another five years.

Pomroy said the project doesn't increase capacity of the system, which processes 6,000 gallons of water a minute and has 6.6 million gallons of storage.

The system serves about 9,300 people through some 3,700 residential and 416 commercial connections.

Pomroy said the construction will be completed by March 2013.

The project is one of three in the Tahoe area to cure what the board has determined to be acute health risks. The Zephyr Water Utility District project, costing $3.3 million, and the Kingsbury GID project, estimated at $8 million, are similar water treatment projects. Board Chairman Bruce Scott said those entities still are preparing their projects and have not brought them to the board yet.

The board approved funding for two other water system projects Wednesday. The Sage Valley Mobile Home Park in Fallon will get a $40,000 award to install equipment that removes the mineral manganese from its water. Officials there said the water is actually dark with that mineral, and its concentration exceeds federal limits.

In addition, the town of Tonopah will get almost $1.1 million to drill two new wells so it can reduce the amount of arsenic in the water there to below federal maximums.

Although described as loans, both those awards are actually grants since, because of low median household income levels in both areas, federal rules say the money doesn't have to be repaid.

The funding comes from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, which is primarily supported by an annual federal grant program.

Carson City's proposed pipeline to Douglas County and transmission system improvements are fifth on the board priority list but will have to wait until money is available, since it is estimated at $18 million.


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