State approves funding for Marlette water system |

State approves funding for Marlette water system

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal File Photo Mike Leahy, water systems manager for the State of Nevada, walks a section of pipe between Marlette Lake and Hobart Reservoir Aug. 6, 2006. The state laid the pipe in 1963 from Marlette over the crest of the mountain and down the hill toward Hobart Reservoir.

The Board of Examiners on Monday approved federal and local funding for the next phase of the Marlette Lake pumping station project.

The project is designed to improve the Marlette water system’s ability to provide water for the capital city and Virginia City year round by building a permanent pumping station at the lake.

The board consisting of the governor, attorney general and secretary of state authorized the receipt and spending of $1,212,400 in funding from the Environmental Protection Administration and the Carson Subconservancy District to continue work on the project.

That brings total EPA funding to $1 million and the Subconservancy’s contribution to $500,000. The state will provide the remaining $5.8 million for the $7.3 million project.

The historic system has provided water to the Comstock for more than 100 years. But when managers need Marlette water to augment the Hobart Reservoir supply in the summer, they have to haul a huge diesel pump up to the lake.

The diesel pumps the water from Marlette over the crest of the mountain and down to Hobart Reservoir.

The old pipe installed in the 1960s actually ended 1,000 yards from the reservoir. The water simply ran downhill to Hobart from that point. It was replaced with an underground pipe this past summer.

Mike Leahy, who manages the lake and water system for buildings and grounds, said in an earlier interview the new pipe will not only enclose the water flowing into Hobart but eliminate problems with the existing pipe – such as the falling trees that occasionally shatter it. He said it will also get rid of diesel pollution and noise.

B&G Administrator Cindy Edwards said with the mobile pump hauled in every summer, system operators could only pump about four months a year. With the new, permanent pumping station, they’ll be able to pump year round.

In addition, the ability to monitor and control the pump station by radio will greatly reduce the need to drive up the mountain – especially dangerous in winter.

When completed, Leahy and his crew will use electronics to monitor the system and make necessary adjustments remotely unless there’s a serious problem.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.