Indian Hills greenlights pipeline

A solution to Indian Hills arsenic problem is in the pipeline.

Improvement district board members voted Wednesday night to participate in a pipeline between Minden and Carson City providing water to the district that meets federal arsenic standards.

The pipeline is estimated to cost $13.1 million according to Manhard Consultants. Indian Hills portion of the first phase, which would serve the district's customers and provide for some short-term growth, would be $3.01 million.

Chairwoman Diane Humble said paying for the pipeline could raise the district's water rates to $18 or even $25 a month.

"That's quite a jump for our residents, especially in this economy," she said. "But this is a political move. We don't have an option. Over the long run this is a more feasible option for people."

Douglas County Manager T. Michael Brown, Douglas County Public Works Director Carl Ruschmeyer, Carson City Public Works Director Andy Burnham and Minden town officers Dave Sheets and Bob Hadfield attended the Indian Hills meeting.

Hadfield reassured Indian Hills trustees that Minden would be prepared to supply the district with water.

"We've been blessed by a good water supply," Hadfield said. "We are test drilling two new wells that will double our capacity."

According to the Manhard study, Minden would have to provide 7,500 gallons per minute in the first phase of the pipeline project. Most of that water would go to Douglas County, Carson City and Indian Hills customers. Hadfield said the town is financing their water improvements by selling 1,000 gallons per minute to Vidler Water Co., a Carson City firm that helped construct the pipeline between Carson City and Lyon County in exchange for water rights.

Hadfield said town board members didn't feel they should finance the improvements using the town's tax base.

"You're a critical component of the whole plan," he said. "You and Carson City. Are critical."

Hadfield said the town would wholesale the water to the county for around 65 cents per 1,000 gallons. The county would add the cost of the pipeline work, which would be 10-20 cents per 1,000 gallons, making the cost to Indian Hills and Carson 75-85 cents.

The cost of the pipeline is less than the cost of treating the district's water to reduce its arsenic levels.

Hadfield said he helped delay the government's implementation of a decrease in the federal arsenic standard from 50 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion. The district water has tested at 17 parts per billion.

Now that the district has approved connecting to the pipeline, it has to figure out how to raise its share of the money. The district has to pay to build a pipeline from where it heads north to Carson City.

"We're responsible for our part of the pipeline from across the river to our doorstep," district manager Jim Taylor said. "My dream is to have our pipeline ready waiting for Minden to reach it."

Ruschmeyer said county commissioners will discuss the issue at their Aug. 6 board meeting.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment