Carson City has until Oct. 6 to provide the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection with an explanation for two unauthorized discharges of effluent.
Both discharges were from a 14-inch pipeline along Highway 50 East that carries reclaimed water to Eagle Valley Golf Course, which uses it to irrigate the course.
The first spill happened on June 27, when an estimated 166,000 gallons of effluent was discharged, and the second occurrence was on Aug. 22 when an estimated 68,000 gallons was released. Both discharges were near Nye Lane.
Carson City Public Works reported both spills to NDEP as required and on Sept. 5 NDEP sent the department a warning letter requesting additional information by Sept. 27, which was extended to Oct. 6 at Public Work’s request.
“NDEP takes every spill seriously and will continue to follow up. However, at this time there is no indication that the spills pose any threat to human health or the environment,” said JoAnn Kittrell, public information manager, Nevada Department of Conservation & Natural Resources.
NDEP is asking Public Works to provide the cause of the first cement coupling failure, assurance other couplings aren’t at risk, an explanation for failure of a pump control communications, and an assessment of whether additional pressure devices would have prevented the two discharges.
“There was a break at the joint and the next break was one joint away. We feel like there’s got to be some sort of settlement. It’s unusual to have two breaks like that,” said Darren Schulz, Public Works director. “It’s likely that because we had a really wet winter we’re seeing groundwater where we’ve never seen it before.”
According to the second report filed Aug. 28, a failure in the pump control communications between the golf course and the Water Resource Recovery Facility may have created a pressure spike or water hammer.
David Bruketta, utility manager, said the department will meet the Oct. 6 deadline and he expects NDEP to let them know if further analysis by a consultant is needed.
The city is also working with NDEP on remediation at three city dams after routine safety inspections found some issues.
Two dams are classified as low hazard.
The drying beds at the Water Resource Recovery Facility were found to be in fair condition and mostly need vegetation removed and erosion monitored.
The south storage ponds off Bigelow Drive, which feed the prison farm alfalfa fields and are also considered low hazard, were found to be in poor condition.
That site, too, needs vegetation removed. Minor rodent activity was observed, requiring backfilling of holes and a rodent control program.
Work at both sites is considered maintenance and didn’t require approval of plans or a permit, according to the NDEP inspection reports.
The Brunswick Canyon dam is classified as high hazard and was found to be in satisfactory condition.
It needs vegetation removed and the draining of a valve chamber as well as an updated emergency action plan.
Again, the repairs were considered maintenance, but NDEP requested within 90 days a time frame for producing a new emergency action plan because it had not been updated since 2005.