Proposed TDPUD water tanks come under fire | SierraSun.com

Proposed TDPUD water tanks come under fire

Erich Sommer, Sierra Sun

The Truckee Donner Public Utility District’s board of directors postponed adoption of an environmental review for two new water storage tanks above downtown Truckee after receiving complaints from the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation.

The move occurred at the Sept. 19 TDPUD board of directors meeting.

The proposed project includes two new water tanks, an access road and the installation of underground utilities, including 1,200 feet of pipelines and conduits. The tanks would be located north of downtown Truckee near Bridge Street and Euer Valley Road.

MAPF contends that TDPUD’s environmental review for the project was inadequate because it failed to identify a water source for the proposed tanks.

“The mitigated negative declaration for the proposed project is inadequate because it does not identify the source of water that would supply the proposed project or analyze the environmental consequences of utilizing those water resources,” reads the letter from Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger LLP, a law firm retained by MAPF.

The letter also states that if an existing source is used, it must be established that it is sufficient to supply the project.

As a public agency, TDPUD can conduct their own environmental review that does not have to go through the town’s planning department.

TDPUD’s review produced a mitigated negative declaration which effectively states that the project would not have a significant effect on the environment because of specified mitigations that will be incorporated into the project.

“How can they say that there are no negative impacts when they haven’t told us where the water source is?” asked MAPF spokeswoman Stefanie Olivieri.

TDPUD officials were unclear whether a new source or an existing source of water would supply the proposed storage tanks.

“We’re taking a step back to look at all our storage and source issues,” said TDPUD Water Superintendent Ed Taylor.

According to Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook, the town of Truckee also had concerns, which it expressed during the environmental review, over the potential visual impacts of the project.

“To the best of my knowledge, we have not heard back from [TDPUD],” Lashbrook said.

Taylor said the tanks are needed because TDPUD needs more storage capacity.

“According to our master plan, we are short of storage space,” Taylor said, before adding that TDPUD is always looking for more sources. “We decided to address all of these issues at once.”

The board’s adoption of the negative declaration would have allowed construction of the project to begin as early as next month.

Instead, the TDPUD board of directors, on advice from legal counsel Steve Gross, voted to postpone the adoption of a negative declaration until their Oct. 17 meeting.

“We wanted to give the district staff and counsel additional time to review the comments submitted by Mountain Area Preservation Foundation,” said Gross afterward.