Donner Lake Water Co. offers free drinking water |

Donner Lake Water Co. offers free drinking water

To assist Donner Lake Water Co. customers living under a boil water notice, the company’s parent – Del Oro Water Co. – is making drinking water available at no cost.

Recent flooding in the area caused Donner Lake’s turbidity level – normally 0.5 – to exceed 15, leaving it unsafe to drink, said Del Oro Water Co. spokesman Bob Fortino.

As a result, Del Oro is making free drinking water available to customers near Donner Lake for the duration of the boil water notice. The water is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day on Bingham Court. (Directions: go two blocks west of South Shore Drive on Donner Pass Road. Turn right at Wolfe Estates Drive and right again on Bingham Court. The service is at the front of the block building on a hose bib marked “Free Drinking Water.”)

Part of the problem at Donner Lake is an outdated water treatment facility, which Fortino said is being replaced with a new plant that meets rigid state standards.

According to Fortino, the new plant, which is behind schedule, is in the final design stage and will go out to bid soon.

“It should have been done in 1996, but we are cautiously optimistic the new one will be ready for 1997,” Fortino said.

Also, the Truckee-Donner Public Utility District is providing a limited amount of water to the boil notice customers through an intertie – an uncontaminated emergency-use water line near the lake – at the Armstrong-Biltz tract.

Donner Lake is separated into three water system zones: the lowest elevation zone receives water directly from the lake through an intake pipe near the west end of the lake. Another zone, located on the southern hillside of Interstate 80, is served by spring water. The third is on the northern hillside of I-80 in the Armstrong-Biltz tract and is serviced by a well.

Only the first zone is contaminated.

Peter Holzmeister, general manger for TDPUD, said water from Donner Lake’s intake is isolated from the Armstrong-Bilitz tract by a closed valve, forcing the contaminated water to move in a westerly direction.

Holzmeister said TDPUD water enters the Donner system at the Armstrong-Bilitz tract, where there is no boil water order. “TDPUD’s water is separated from the contaminated water by a closed valve,” he said.

Donner Lake Water Co. has been monitoring the water shared by the two companies to ensure TDPUD’s water suffers no contamination, said Holzmeister.

Del Oro Water Co., based in Chico, was formed in the late 1960s by Fortino’s father and soon became one of California’s 20 largest public utility companies.

Donner Lake Water Co. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Del Oro, which serves more than 1,200 customers at Donner Lake.

For information, call 587-3896.

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