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Mound House water bills cooled off by Carson connection

Karen Woodmansee
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal
NEVADA APPEAL |

Almost four years ago, while looking for a new house, Teri Ford saw a cute little place in Mound House with a yard that looked like a park.

She bought it and worked hard the first summer to keep her yard green and beautiful.

Then the water bill came.

“I was just watering my little life away, and got my bill,” she said. “The Realtor, nobody ever told me it would be so high.”

The reason the bill was high was that in 1994, the Mound House water system, then owned by a private company that was having operating problems, was taken over by Dayton Utilities, operated by Lyon County.

The county found wells that did not operate, damaged pipes and other infrastructure, and the community was actually without water for a time.

“It was a real crisis,” said Lyon County Utilities Director Mike Workman, who arrived much later but had to deal with the aftermath.

Grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Communities Division had to be written to save the system long enough to intertie it to the Dayton system and a bond had to be issued.

To pay off the bond, rates were set high for the 910 residents of the small community just east of Carson City, at $46.37 base rate and $5.26 per thousand gallons used over that, more than double the Dayton water rate.

The debt is now paid off, the Mound House system is tied to the Dayton system, and thanks to a Carson City-Dayton interconnecting pipeline now being built, infrastructure improvements that the county expected to have to pay for will not be necessary.

“Anytime you can reduce a rate by this much is a big plus,” Workman said. “Anytime you can pay off debts early is a good thing.”

This week, workers from Canyon Creek Construction Co. and Lyon County Utilities were hard at work laying the 16-inch Ductile iron pipe that will take water from the Carson City water tank to the Dayton tank, and from there, on to Mark Twain and Dayton.

Sean Sinclair, of Lyon County Utilities who was supervising the project, said the project was in the third phase heading to within 1,000 feet of the Dayton tank, with the fourth phase being connecting to the tank itself, along with some upgrading work.

He said the Vidler Water Co., which is hoping to provide water to Dayton developers, are paying for the pipe, which will then be deeded to the county.

“We’ll be able to feed Mound House from Dayton or Carson City,” he said, “This won’t cost the county anything.”

He estimated the project would be done by January.

The agreement among Vidler Water Co., Lyon County and Dayton will provide water to Carson City for peak demand times as well as in case of fire or other emergencies, Workman said.

On Thursday, the Lyon County Commissioners voted to dissolve the Mound House Fund, which will drop the Mound House rates to the Dayton level of $20.54 for up to 5,000 gallons a month and $2.53 per thousand gallons additional.

It came none too soon for Ford, who said she was unaware of the history or the bond and has now cut down on her watering.

“You go over your allotment (of 5,000 gallons a month) and boy!” she said. “The woman before me obviously had a lot more money than me.”

– Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or call 881-7351.