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PUD water study released

Erich Sommer, Sierra Sun

Drink up!

If you happen to be looking for anything from aluminum to zinc, or barium to E-coli, don’t waste your time checking your water. That is, if you are a Truckee Donner Public Utility District customer.

According to the 2000 Water Quality Report prepared by the TDPUD for its customers, its water is remarkably pure.

“I would give our water an ‘A,’ but that doesn’t include Donner Lake,” said Peter Holzmeister, general manager of TDPUD.

While TDPUD monitors the wells and collects data year-round, the actual testing for the report is done by an independent lab once a year.

“We are required to gather data on a continual basis, and there are some tests we are required to do once a year,” Holzmeister said. “We draw the samples, then we turn them over to an independent lab.”

Why is the water of such high quality?

Location, location, location.

“Our wells are so deep, we are really above any possible contaminants. And, we are not near any highly industrialized area,” Holzmeister explained.

He added the depth of TDPUD’s wells, up to 200 feet, allow the gravel and sand to act as a natural filtration system.

Holzmeister said TDPUD started chlorinating the water a few years ago because of possible contamination in the storage and delivery system itself, not because of any degradation in water quality.

“We put all this nice pure water into a man-made system that is possibly contaminated, so we had to start adding chlorine.”

TDPUD’s water is drawn from 10 wells scattered throughout Truckee.

Holzmeister said most of that water from the wells is pushed through the north side tank, which he characterized as the “central nerve of the system.”

The well and storage tank are located on the hills above downtown Truckee.

The two wells in the Prosser are the notable exceptions, with most of that water going directly to TDPUD customers in the Prosser area.

With TDPUD now in possession of the Donner Lake water system, Holzmeister said he is waiting for a consultant’s report before determining whether TDPUD will also assume control of Glenshire’s water system.

“I think there is a good chance we will, but that decision has not been made yet,” he said.

“If the (consultant’s) report indicated the Glenshire (Mutual Water Company) water system is full of holes, we might still acquire it, but under different circumstances,” Holzmeister said. “But based on conversations with our consultant, he did not find anything along those lines.”

Holzmeister said the TDPUD has not experienced the same arsenic problems as Glenshire Mutual Water Company because of the location of TDPUD’s Glenshire Drive well.

“Our well is down in the valley, down in sand and gravel, kind of in the typical glacial valley area.”

With the recent acquisitions, Holzmeister said TDPUD won’t need to find more water, but will need to expand its staff.

“There is capacity available in the Glenshire Drive well to serve Glenshire customers,” he said, adding that TDPUD is currently only using 500 of the 2,000 gallons a minute the well is drawing.

In order to meet personnel requirements, Holzmeister said TDPUD will “bring over the staff at Glenshire (Mutual Water Company) and employ them at the PUD.”

Glenshire Mutual Water Company customers overwhelmingly voted in favor of consolidation with TDPUD in early May.

Last summer, a report commissioned by the board of directors found high levels of arsenic in five of the company’s 12 wells.

The 2000 Water Quality Report does caution that some individuals, despite the high quality of TDPUD’s water, are vulnerable to low levels of contaminants.

Anyone with a suppressed immune system, the elderly and infants can be particularily vulnerable.


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