City of Reno staff received yesterday marching orders by the City Council to proceed with negotiating a deal to pipe 4,000 acre-feet of treated effluent each year from the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility to the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center (TRIC) in Storey County.
But that motion, approved 5 to 2, didn’t come without council members chiding those advocating for a quick negotiation on the project.
City Public Works Director John Flansberg brought forward the proposal on behalf of the Tahoe Reno Industrial General Improvement District (TRI GID). He said almost all effluent goes back to the river or for irrigation, so the proposal for a pipeline would divert that water to businesses like Switch and Tesla for industrial use.
A representative for Switch asked the council to have staff start negotiating an agreement with all affected parties.
But councilman Paul McKenzie chastised the effort for its short deadline of June 2017, set to meet the state’s timeline to apply for bonds through the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
McKenzie added that the improvement district should be responsible for reimbursing a cash amount for the displaced water that would not be used for future development – 10,000-20,000 residential units, according to estimates.
Councilwoman Jenny Brekhus also criticized the project’s rushed timeline.
“I’m not leaning toward a negotiation with another party right now,” she said.
But Councilwoman Naomi Duerr praised the effort.
She called it “an extremely good deal at this point, assuming we get paid” but asked for set rates prior to proceeding.
Multiple jurisdictions need to come to the table, and the council will have to approve the agreement before it proceeds.
According to the project’s term sheet, “TRI GID is responsible for planning, permitting, engineering and construction of all Effluent Project improvements in Storey County and Washoe County, including right-of-way acquisition and system improvements within TRI Center. Each of the Cities will grant an easement for the pipeline on their property at no charge. The costs of this work shall be responsibility of TRI GID.”
A $20 million pipeline would need to be built, along with $31 million in upgrades at TRIC. The city could gain from the project, including operations and maintenance fees, but the amount still has to be negotiated.
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