Truckee utility may buy arsenic filter for well |

Truckee utility may buy arsenic filter for well

Truckee’s utility district will decide tonight whether to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on an arsenic filtration system for a well that feeds downtown Truckee.

The Northside Well, located north of Interstate 80 on Indian Jack Road, has served as a main water source for the district since the 1970s, said Mark Thomas, the district’s water superintendent.

In 2006, the well was temporarily shut down because the high arsenic levels had been at 44 parts per billion, well over the Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum allowance of 10 parts per billion, said Water Utility Manager Ed Taylor in a 2006 interview with the Sierra Sun.

By pumping Northside well water into a tank fed by four other sources, arsenic levels have since been brought down. But Thomas said the district would like to get the well functioning at full capacity again.

The Truckee Donner Public Utility District will vote on purchasing an arsenic treatment system to filter the contaminant from the water. Bids for the system have come in between $210,000 and $460,000, Thomas said.

“It will allow us to use alternate sources,” Thomas said. “You should always have at least one more source than you need, and this will give us more options to run different wells.”

The money will not directly affect ratepayers, as the cost for a treatment system was included in the water department’s 2008 budget, Thomas said.

Truckee’s utility district is considering drilling wells on property owned by the Truckee Tahoe Airport to maintain the balance between water demands and population growth.

“We’re still in the preliminary stages,” said the utility’s water manager Ed Taylor in a past interview. “We’re looking at the trend of development to stay ahead of the curve.”

The Truckee Donner Public Utility District has been studying possible drilling sites around town, and Taylor said the airport parcel has the potential to produce a significant amount of water.

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