Second Guinn appointee accused of violating rules | NevadaAppeal.com

Second Guinn appointee accused of violating rules

A second Guinn-administration appointee apparently is violating the rules of the agency he was named to oversee.

Longtime Elko rancher Demar Dahl, newest member of the state Environmental Commission, violated wastewater pollution standards for incidents, including two sewage spills at a package treatment facility near Fallon.

That news came on the heels of confirmation that Brad Quilici, who Gov. Kenny Guinn named to the Wildlife Commission, was cited for a series of trapping violations dating back to 1982.

Guinn’s press secretary Jack Finn confirmed Tuesday that Quilici was also terminated from his job as a maintenance technician at the Nevada Department of Transportation. No one would confirm the reason for his termination. Finn repeated Chief of Staff Scott Scherer’s earlier stand that Guinn was standing behind Quilici’s appointment.

“We still look forward to him doing a fine job,” he said.

Dahl, who was the Republican opponent of Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., in 1992, was found in violation of state water quality standards, according to a letter and order dated Jan. 31 by the Division of Environmental Protection.

Dahl, an Elko rancher and businessman, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The case centers on complaints by residents who rely on the Pine Grove Utility in the Fallon area, a package wastewater treatment plant owned and operated by Dahl. The order says there were effluent spills on Dec. 27 and Jan. 3 – the second totaling 3,000 gallons – and includes several complaints about “objectionable odors” from the plant.

Tests of the water quality showed too much of several types of effluent including, at different times, the amounts of total suspended solids, total nitrogen, total wastewater flow from the plant and BOD, an index that measures how strong sewage is in the water.

Jolaine Johnson of the state environmental division said Dahl has been cooperative with investigators and is working with them to make sure there are no future problems.

Division officials say those improvements include getting permits for a larger leach field to handle the volume of treated water from the plant as well as treatment quality improvements.

Finn said the governor is convinced Dahl will make “a fine member of the commission.”

“He does bring a lot to the table in terms of his experience and knowledge,” said Finn, citing Dahl’s experience both in ranching and development.

The environmental division ordered Pine Grove Utility Trust to develop a plan to bring the treatment plant into compliance with its permit by March 17. In addition, it mandates an immediate halt to effluent discharges until the plant meets state standards, requires specific measures to prevent further spills and improve odor control as well as reduce pollution in the wastewater.