Penstock newest project for TCID
December 19, 2013
Maintenance was the hot topic, despite freezing temperatures, at the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District's monthly meeting earlier this month.
Mark Solinski, hydro foreman at Lahontan Dam, briefed the board of directors on the state of the penstock at the dam. Solinski said the penstock, which is located in the Lahontan tower, must be recoated with sealant or the district could face a serious problem.
The penstock is the "main artery" and carries water from the reservoir to the two hydroelectric plants at Lahontan. Should the seal suffer severe cracks, it would prevent the district from creating electricity, which provides TCID with a large portion of its revenue.
Solinski said the project should be done as soon as possible, but added the district could wait about two years. He advised against putting off the maintenance, although the district must reconfigure its budget to ensure the funds are available for the project.
The cost, however, is expensive with a price tag of about $900,000. Solinski said he researched the expense for a 3/8-inch sealant, which has about a 75-year lifespan.
The penstock must be water or sandblasted before the sealant can be applied by a robot.
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A cheaper option is an apoxy-based sealant, but it only carries a 25-year lifespan.
The cost of the repair comes as the finance committee of Lester de Braga, Eric Olsen and Wade Workman are working on creating a safety net. The trio announced in November their target was a $6 million nest egg for maintenance issues. The plan is an alternative to securing loans or bonds for maintenance work.
In other TCID news —
Mike Adams reported the district's new database system will be operational by the start of the 2014 water season.
The project, which is set in several phases, is currently in Phase I, which will be up and running in the spring. Adams said the system will allow water users the abaility to order and schedule water through the district's website (www.tcid.org).
Adams' project has had several setbacks through the past year including the loss of two computers. The computers, one of which was fixed, were lost during a Nov. 27 brownout through NV Energy.
According to Adams, the Liberty Pond substation shorted out and blew all the fuses, which created a power surge and took out the computers.
Project Manager Rusty Jardine said the district has started discussions with the Bureau of Reclamation about flow policies for the hydroelectric plants.
Currently, the district must first run water through the Old Dam plant, then the New Plant. The district, though, is urging the BOR to allow TCID to first run water through the New Plant for better efficiencies and to generate more power.