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City Council presentation about future water options draws nearly 100 residents

Nearly 100 residents turned out Tuesday night to hear a city staff-led presentation about future wastewater options.

Any while many of their questions and concerns were answered, the picture is expected to be clearer once a feasibility study is complete.

Last month, the Southern Nevada Water Authority presented four options to the council. These included three plans and a possible addition to two of those plans for the city to recycle its water to reduce consumptive use and possibly earn return flow credits for water treated and returned to Lake Mead.

The first plan presented would see Boulder City construct a pipeline to send wastewater to Henderson for treatment and return to the lake; the second would expand Boulder City’s treatment facility so wastewater could be treated and directly used in the city’s golf courses; and the third plan would treat and return water to the lake through an artificial “recharge well.”

The fourth option presented was the possibility that Henderson’s future developments in Eldorado Valley could possibly pay Boulder City to send their wastewater to be treated under plans one or three.

The water authority will conduct a feasibility study to determine the likely success of each option presented, which is expected to take several months to complete. Once finished, the water authority will present the results to the council, which will decide which option Boulder City will go with.

The city was able to pick one or two plans for the water authority to study from the options presented.

The council chose for the authority to look into plans two and three, with the possibility for the fourth option to be added onto plan three.

“Council directed them to do the feasibility study, which is a costly endeavor, on both of those options then we can see what best fits the community, get harder numbers and see what it will truly cost,” City Manager Taylour Tedder said during Tuesday’s presentation.

City Utility Manager Joe Stubitz said some of the key considerations for direct reuse for irrigation include:

• Provides 100% utilization of treated effluent.

• Does not require operating agreements with other local municipalities.

• Requires wastewater treatment plant upgrade/replacement (improved water quality effluent needed for irrigation).

• Involves repurposing existing raw water line, blending potable and treated wastewater for irrigation.

• Allows potential repurposing of existing raw water transmission system as potable system back-up.

• Water quality implications of using high TDS (total dissolved solids) treated wastewater during winter require monitoring and management at the end of the user level.

This carries an estimated cost of $32,179,000 with an annual estimated operating and maintenance figure of $1,738,889. SNWA has agreed to pay up to $26 million of the capital costs with Boulder City covering an estimated $6.2 million.

As for returning the water to Lake Mead via a recharge well, Stubitz said key considerations include:

• Provides 100% utilization of treated effluent.

• Requires wastewater treatment plant upgrade/replacement (improved effluent quality for release).

• Will require special dispensation from Bureau of Reclamation to receive return flow credits.

• Allows potential repurposing of the existing raw water distribution network as potable system back-up.

• Does not require operating agreements with other local municipalities.

The estimated cost for this option is $39,364,000 and like the other option, the annual operating and maintenance cost is estimated at $1,738,889. SNWA has agreed to pay all capital costs for this option in exchange for return flow credits, and thus Boulder City would pay no capital but would be responsible for operating and maintenance costs.

Some of those in attendance expressed concerns relating to both options but Tedder assured them that if either is chosen, it must be in the best interest of the city and its residents.

“On behalf of myself, and I think I can speak for our elected officials, that we will all fight for the people of Boulder City and make sure their voices are heard,” he said. “We’re going to make sure there’s plenty of community involvement and make sure the feasibility studies, once they are underway, we will share that information as well.”

On those lines, the city has created a wastewater survey, which will be available to take through September. It can be found at bcnv.org/water. For questions on this topic, residents can email the city at water@bcnv.org.

Contact Editor Ron Eland at reland@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523.

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