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Agencies prepared for Y2K

JOHN A. BAYLESS, Sierra Sun

Truckee’s public agencies are giving an “all-clear” as far as their compliance with the Y2K glitch is concerned.

All of them have been preparing their computer systems during the past year for the day when the calendar rolls over to the Year 2000. Older computers which have not been upgraded or replaced use a two-digit numbering system for years, and mistakenly interpret the year 2000 as 1900.

Scott Terrell, director of planning services for the Truckee-Donner Public Utility District, said the district’s own computers and control systems are all upgraded.

“I think that the PUD has done due diligence on what we needed to do to get all of our systems in compliance,” Terrell said. “Everything has been looked over and all vendors have been contacted. As far as we know, all that could be done has been done.”

The PUD buys its power from other agencies, including Sierra Pacific and Idaho Power Co. It is a reseller, not a generator, of power, and therefore depends on the Y2K compliance of others to ensure a flow of power from outside of its own boundaries.

Pat Gemma, Superintendent of Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District, said the district’s computers are all certified.

“I think we are fine,” Gemma said. “We’ve done all of the preparation that we can possibly do. We looked at all of our vulnerable spots, did assessments and remediated where needed by updating technology. If the major vital signs of the community are operating, then we will be operating.”

He said the district’s central computing is handled through Placer County, which just upgraded its mini-mainframe.

The Truckee Sanitary District reports that its computers, which coordinate sewer lift stations throughout town, are all Y2K compliant.

“Everything is looking really good,” said Bob Reese, district mechanical engineer. “We did standard stuff on our PCs to get all of the Microsoft programs in line. All of our control systems were already upgraded for other purposes. We were in line with the current equipment, so it’s not really any big deal there.”

Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation Agency, which treats wastewater and sewage for Truckee and the North Shore, is ready.

“We’ve put a lot of effort into it and we’ll know within a week if we’ve been successful,” General Manager Craig Woods said. “We’re highly confident that we will continue to treat wastewater without any interruptions. We will have staff on site to handle any unforseen occurrences.”

The Town of Truckee, which began its Y2K upgrades about a year ago, also reported all of its systems are in order for the New Year.

” Everything that we know of has been completed and upgraded,” Town Manager Steve Wright said. “All of our computer systems have been checked and modified where necessary.” He said all ancillary computer chips, such as ones in gas pumps and traffic lights, have been checked to ensure Y2K compliance.

In fact, the town installed a new gasoline storage tank, so it will have more fuel on hand than before.

“We initially looked into it because of Y2K, then discovered that it was also cheaper to buy in bulk,” Wright said. “We also stored additional diesel fuel for the snowplow equipment and have a month’s worth on hand.”

Town staff and special district personnel in the Truckee area have been meeting with the Emergency Preparedness Task Force to prepare for Y2K, as well as with the county level Y2K task force.


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