TRIC awaits plan for link to reclaimed water

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A “purple pipe system” that uses reclaimed water from homes and businesses throughout the Truckee Meadows could provide a big boost to sustainability efforts for companies at Tahoe Reno Industrial Center east of Sparks.

There’s still a lot of infrastructure to put into play, but TRIC developer Lance Gilman says he’s in the process of establishing contracts to import 4,000 acre feet of water from the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility in east Sparks. It’s the largest sustainability project currently underway at TRIC — although that could soon change.

Reclaimed water from the TMWRF already is pumped to effluent re-use sites throughout Reno and Sparks. Businesses that use reclaimed, or nonpotable water have dual-piping water systems installed. Piping for reclaimed water systems always has a light purple color to clearly distinguish it from potable water intake and distribution systems.

Businesses throughout TRIC already have purple pipe systems installed and are awaiting some infrastructure improvements and environmental approvals to begin using their systems, Gilman said. Reclaimed water can be used in several ways — cooling at data centers, in manufacturing processes, or to irrigate landscaping.

“The purple pipe system is installed throughout the park is an asset,” Gilman said. “It’s kind of just waiting on the sidelines to be implemented.”

Tahoe Reno Industrial Center already has 2,000 acre feet of reclaimed water rights, Gilman said, via a holding pond constructed during the park’s initial development. However, the larger sustainability plan would boost that amount to a minimum of 6,000 acre feet by installing an approximately 15-mile-long pipeline to transport water from the reclamation facility at the eastern edge of Sparks to TRIC.

Gilman said the upgraded facility could be put into play as early as 2020. However, there’s a great deal of work to be done to pull it all off.

“It’s about a two-year process to get everything built and operational,” he said. “We will have to bring a pipeline out from the Reno-Sparks treatment facility to TRIC, which is about 15 to 20 miles to our holding lake. We will have to come down the Truckee River, but there are three different easement paths we can follow to bring it in. That is a year-and-a-half project by itself, then we will have to deepen the reservoir, install pump stations, and run additional water lines in some areas.

“Everything is staged, and a great deal of infrastructure already is completed; however, there’s another level necessary to put it all into operation,” he added. “Especially for large users; we have to upgrade the system in some areas, improve the lake, install pump stations to get water around the park at proper pressure, and of course we will have to complete the pipeline (from the treatment facility).”

Gilman expects the next phase of infrastructure development will commence in the second quarter of 2018.

U.S. Filter designed and installed fully operating water and sewer facilities at TRIC, Gilman said. The system processes all on-site water from park users.

And although the industrial park is located in what appears to be extremely dry land, there’s actually an abundance of water, Gilman noted. Previous scoping work identified as much as 30,000 acre feet of pure underground water about 1,000 feet below the surface of the park’s massive footprint. TRIC has roughly 5,400 acre feet of water rights from that resource approved by the state watermaster, and Gilman said in 15 years of operations the water table has receded just one-eighth of an inch.

“We have an abundant supply of potable water in the underground basin, and it’s a very stable underground water resource,” he said.

The park also has access to a large quantity of water rights from the Truckee River and has induction wells installed to pull water from the river into its holding pond. However, Gilman said the park isn’t accessing those water rights.

“Basically it is an insurance water asset,” he said. “We really don’t use Truckee River water. Although it is there and we have the water rights and an induction well, it is not a major part of our utility company development.

“When we add treated effluent from Reno-Sparks, it will give us an incredible quantity,” he added. “We have a tremendous investment in utilities for all our reclaimed water.”

All businesses at TRIC are on dual meters for potable and nonpotable water. Costs are about the same, Gilman noted, due to the amount of infrastructure that needs to be installed and management and maintenance of that infrastructure.

Reclaimed water isn’t the only sustainability effort underway at TRIC. Gilman said Tesla and Switch are both well-invested in maximizing their use of sustainable resources and are considering major solar projects to generate power for their Northern Nevada projects.

Google’s purchase of 1,200 acres at TRIC certainly affords the tech giant room for a large-scale solar project as well, and there have also been discussions about using geothermal wells at the park, Gilman noted.

“All of the major corporate groups are looking at sustainability investments,” he said. “All of the major companies that have located or purchased property here within the last 36 months are implementing significant sustainability energy practices.”


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