State again considers funds for Donner Lake | SierraSun.com
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State again considers funds for Donner Lake

DARIN OLDE, Sierra Sun

Initial repairs of the Donner Lake water system may only be a few weeks away.

The delivery of $1.4 million to Donner Lake Water Company for emergency construction has been set for discussion and potential action in the next California Public Utilities Commission meeting on March 27 in San Francisco.

The draft order for funding, issued by Administrative Law Judge Glen E. Walker, calls for enough funding to carry construction work until July, when Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loans may be available.

If approved, the water company would be authorized to impose a temporary surcharge of approximately $12 per month for each of its 1,300 customers to repay the loan.

The Donner Lake Citizens Group for Drinking Water opposed the motion, and has asked the Public Utilities Commission to incorporate their concerns into the draft order before taking formal action.

The Citizen’s Group has requested that a regulatory agency or mechanism be employed to make sure the water company spends the money on emergency repairs leading to the improvement of the water system, and that the water company not profit from receiving the loan.

The Ratepayer Advocates, a branch of the Public Utilities Commission, has also requested that its comments be incorporated into the draft decision.

“Close scrutiny is required of all aspects of Donner Lake Water Co.’s request (for emergency funding),” wrote Peter G. Fairchild, attorney for the Ratepayer Advocates. “In the absence of a prior hearing, any work performed by (the Water Company) should be subject to review.”

In other news, a Nevada County Superior Court dismissed the condemnation lawsuit by the Water Company against Donner Lake Village Resort Association pending compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.

The Water Company filed to condemn an easement owned by the Resort Association in order to proceed with plans for an intake pipe to the proposed water treatment facility.

But in a controversial ruling by the Town of Truckee last fall, the location of the proposed water treatment plant was cast into doubt, and an environmental impact report was ordered.

The suit is the second suit filed by the water company that has been subsequently dismissed or dropped.

While the Water Company has to complete a report before proceeding with plans to build a water treatment facility, it has continued to pursue $12 million to repair or replace the water transmission system and build a treatment plant. A public hearing will be held in Truckee on April 3.


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