IVGID GM’s corner: How we get things done in Washington, D.C. | SierraSun.com

IVGID GM’s corner: How we get things done in Washington, D.C.

Steve Pinkerton

There is a routine item on next week's agenda asking the Board of Trustees to extend our agreement with Marcus Faust for Federal Legislative Advocacy Services.

Over the past eleven years, Mr. Faust has assisted the district in obtaining more than $24 million in federal funds. I should also note that we've received incredible support from the Nevada congressional delegation as well. The biggest chunk of that federal funding has gone towards replacing our aging effluent export pipeline.

As most of you know, while we are allowed to treat our raw sewage at our Sweetwater Drive facility, IVGID is not allowed to discharge our sewage within the Tahoe Basin.

The treated effluent is exported via a pipeline to Douglas County where it is discharged into our 900-acre wetlands facility for beneficial reuse. The export pipeline, which was originally completed in 1971, is reaching the end of its functional life and much of the line is in need of replacement.

Through Mr. Faust's legislative efforts, the first six miles of pipeline were primarily funded via $15.5 million secured through the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).

This past year, Mr. Faust worked with the Nevada Legislative Delegation and other western legislators to get additional funding placed into WRDA. There is now an additional $100 million available in that funding source, which we hope to access for the next phase of our project — which may entail replacing an additional six miles of pipe.

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The IVGID Board recently approved a contract for staff to use cutting edge technology to better assess the amount of pipe needing replacement. By spending $500,000 in assessing the pipe condition, we can save as much as $4 million for every mile of pipe that doesn't need to be replaced.

Mr. Faust has also played a key role in reducing fire risk for the District. In cooperation with South Tahoe PUD, he has assisted in gaining over $3 million in funding to improve the fire fighting flows in our water infrastructure. This cooperative effort has resulted in $17 million in total funding throughout the basin.

The quality of our water has also been enhanced through his efforts. We've received over $6 million in Federal Funds along with over $2 million in State matching funds for the Mill, Incline, and Third Creek Restoration projects.

These funds have greatly improved the stream environment zones within Incline Village and aided in the goal of improving the clarity of Lake Tahoe. In fact, due in part to the District's successful completion of the previous projects on time and on budget, we were recently awarded an additional $1.068 million in federal and state funding for Third and Incline Creeks stream enhancements.

Besides improving the environmental health and fire safety of the Lake Tahoe Basin, these federal funds have greatly reduced the burden of our local ratepayers. These federal and state reimbursements have saved the residential and commercial ratepayers an average of $2,067 over the past 11 years. This works out to $16 per month per ratepayer.

Our average combined water and sewer residential utility rate for the upcoming year is $94. This is one of the lower rates in the region. For example, Tahoe City ratepayers are on the hook at an average of $134.76 per month. In Kingsbury, their average combined rate is $132.85. North Tahoe and Truckee come in at $113.69 and $111.96 respectively.

Over the past seven years, our rates have only increased 4.9 percent per year, despite the need to begin saving for the next phase of the export pipeline replacement project.

If we are able to secure additional federal funding for the next phase, we will able to continue to have rates increase at far less than the regional average.

I will update you on our progress in securing additional funding in a future column.

"GM's Corner" is a twice-monthly column from Incline Village General Improvement Distinct General Manager Steve Pinkerton, who will discuss issues and offer updates regarding various district matters.