Douglas County sewer plant expansion concerns neighbors
Nevada Appeal News Service
MINDEN – Citing everything from odor and mosquitoes to declining property values, Saratoga Springs residents bucked plans to put an effluent storage reservoir and four rapid infiltration basins within 370 feet of their homes.
“We’re talking about a 42-acre sewer lake, and the mosquitoes are already a problem,” said Saratoga resident Steve Way.
When nearby agricultural fields west of Saratoga Springs are irrigated with the effluent, the smell can be unbelievable, he said. Assuming the water is of the same caliber, this expansion could affect three north-county neighborhoods, he added.
The homes currently back up to an expanse of sage and rabbit brush on the valley floor, with mountains in the background and hot springs to the east.
“None of the stakeholders downwind were consulted,” said Saratoga resident Stephen Bennett. “This proposal should be DOA.”
The Douglas County Planning Commission approved the sewer expansion 3-1 on Tuesday, but agreed to move the ponds another 100 feet to the north, away from the development. Aerators to diffuse any odors were included in the motion at Tuesday’s meeting.
Commissioner Jim Madsen cast the one dissenting vote.
“I think this thing needs to be redesigned, moved away from people’s backyards,” he said. “This is not rocket science.”
Commissioners Rick Ross and Lawrence Howell did not attend Tuesday’s meeting. Matt McKinney recused himself because he works for Don Bently, who will receive the treated water for irrigation.
Located just east of Heybourne Road and west of Stephanie Lane, the current plant capacity has already been committed to various developments in north Douglas County, both residential and commercial. The plant serves most of Douglas County from Genoa to the Carson City line with the exception of Indian Hills.
The Nevada Department of Environmental Protection will not approve further development until the facility design is completed. Current plant capacity is 450,000 gallons per day. Right now, average daily flows are between 275,000 to 280,000 gallons per day, according to information provided by county officials.
Expansion of Douglas County’s facility, the North Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant, will increase the plant’s capacity to 2 million gallons a day.
Incline Village sewer facilities are paid an estimated $40,000 to treat Douglas County’s wastewater in north Douglas County. Another $140,000 a year is paid to Indian Hills for wastewater treatment in Douglas County redevelopment area. The change will mean higher quality wastewater treatment for Indian Hills, which handles effluent from commercial areas in north Douglas County, according to Indian Hills General Manager Dennis Longhofer.
Those bills will be defrayed after the expansion, when wastewater is treated at the north Douglas County plant.
The change will also mean higher quality wastewater treatment for Indian Hills, according to Longhofer.
“It should help us with the grease from restaurants,” he said.
Plans for the project include storage of the treated effluent in winter and release in the summer, onto nearby agricultural land owned by Don Bently.
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