Sewage plant expansion moves forward: Project could cost upwards of $50 million

Scott Hess

Realizing Truckee and several surrounding areas are growing rapidly, the Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation Agency recently voted to expand its sanitation treatment plant.

Craig Woods, the plant general manager, said it has been working on the expansion for six or seven years. Now the designs have been approved and construction for the new plant will begin as soon as this fall.

“[The expansion] will increase the capacity of the treatment plant from 7.4 million gallons per day to 9.6 million gallons per day,” Woods said. He noted that with their current system more than 80 percent is being used, so the plant needs to expand its capacity to accommodate for the projected increase in population.

Woods mentioned his two biggest concerns were for the Town of Truckee, as well as the Martis Valley area, which he says are the two areas that show the largest growth potential.

A $600,000 contract is open for the work this fall, for preliminary excavation and land work – preparing the site for construction of the building. According to Woods, bidding will begin this week and will be awarded to a contractor by mid-July.

Woods said the contract for the biggest portion of the project – construction of the plant and installation of new equipment – will be open later this summer. The job “will approach $50 million,” he said.

The Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation Agency will award the contract by the end of the summer or early in the fall, and the winning contractor will begin construction in the late fall or early winter.

The most expensive parts of the plant expansion, Woods said, are the nitrogen removal system, which will cost approximately $20-22 million, and the sewage solids de-watering, which will cost approximately $10 million.

According to Woods, to cover the estimated $50 million bill, the Sanitation Agency is mainly using part of its reserve funds, and has also received a loan from the state of California that will be repaid at a low interest rate over 20 years. Residents of the Sanitation Agency’s coverage area – the North and West Shores, the Town of Truckee, Alpine and Squaw Valley – have had a “slight increase” in their fees, “that has already been calculated in,” Woods said.

The treatment plant is scheduled for completion by late 2005 or early 2006, Woods said.

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