County sewer plant expansion advances |

County sewer plant expansion advances

At more than $1.4 million for engineering services for the $7.5 million upgrade of the North Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant, County Engineer Nick Charles acknowledged it was pricey.

“Building a wastewater treatment plant is extremely technical,” he said after hearing an audible reaction. “A large group of people have to work on it. The firm has budgeted 6,000 hours to complete the plant. These are extremely time consuming projects. We’re spending a lot of money, so we want to make sure we get it right the first time.”

Commissioners approved contracts with both engineering firms.

Charles said the county plans to hire two engineering firms, one to do the primary plant design and the other to provide quality control, assurance and provide a second opinion on the project.

Work on the plan will be funded by a development administration grant for $1.7 million, a clean water state revolving fund loan, and a $2 million loan from the redevelopment fund.

At their Dec. 17 meeting, commissioners adopted a resolution authorizing general obligation sewer bonds to pay for improvements to the plant.

The goal is to get work started on the plant, so that within a few years when bonds for prior work are paid off, new bonding will make up the difference.

County Public Works Director Carl Ruschmeyer said he doesn’t expect the upgrade to affect customers’ rates.

The plant serves Johnson Lane and portions of Genoa. There are an estimated 1,400 Johnson Lane residents still on septic tanks who could be required to connect to the sewer system at some point in the future. A U.S. Geological Survey study predicted that all residents in the community would be on the sewer system by 2030.

A construction contract is scheduled to go to commissioners in August 2017, with construction beginning in October 2017. Under that timetable, plant start-up could be October 2018, with the plant fully operational by December 2018.

The plant was originally built to treat 125,000 gallons a day in 1988 to serve the industrial areas around Minden-Tahoe Airport. Sewer ponds and the plant were the subject of $1 million in work in 2007.

Under its license with the state, a plan must be in place to expand the plant when it reaches 85 percent capacity.

Its current capacity is 300,000 gallons per day, and it is treating 250,000 gallons per day, or 83 percent.

Most Valley residents are served by the Minden-Gardnerville Sanitation District, whose plant is located in Minden.