Installing technology for this century may have cost a treasure of the past when workers drilling a hole for fiber optic cable plugged a Topaz Lake commercial spring.
Nevada Trading Co. owner Joe Scalise said his Topaz Summit spring was pumping out 2 gallons per minute of fresh water in February before workers for the Digital 395 Project started drilling along the highway to punch the cable under the north driveway of the Ironhorse Cantina.
Scalise said he warned the workers that his spring was in the vicinity, but no one knows the exact location.
Scalise had the water from the spring set up to go into a tank where he bottled Topaz Summit spring water. Not long after he warned the workers about the tank, water came bubbling up through the hole.
“I opened the valve to the water system and got drillers’ mud,” he said. “The water was coming up through the hole at 4 gallons per minute. They dropped a sandbag over it to try and stop it.”
Scalise said they let it run for four days before dropping some quick-drying cement down the hole, which stopped the water from crossing the Ironhorse’s parking lot. That also blocked the spring, and the chief source of water for the property.
Scalise said he had to have water trucked in and install a well to continue to serve the restaurant and bar.
“I’m out at least $50,000 just to get the well installed,” he said.
Scalise said he had a distribution list for his water that included nearly three dozen places.
“The people at the state water department would ask me to bring them a couple of jugs because the water was so good,” he said. “People would come and fill up with the water. It was a good spring.”
Scalise believes that the water from the spring is still going somewhere, but so far it hasn’t bubbled up anywhere near where it was.
He said that he has hired an attorney and is waiting to hear from the contractors involved in the incident, which include Apex Directional Drilling, Curtis & Sons and Praxis Associates.
When Scalise purchased the property in 1984, he said the spring was one of the factors that sold him.
The 1959 Las Vegas High School graduate operated Kingsbury Lanes in the early 1980s, but said TRPA regulations were too much for him, so he headed down to Topaz.