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Runoff project appears ready for TRPA’s OK

A $20 million project to keep Stateline pollutants from washing into Lake Tahoe is up for discussion this week. Pending approval by the region’s bistate regulatory board, construction is scheduled to begin in early June.

Deja vu, right?

Yes, not only has the idea for the project been around for more than 10 years, but the Governing Board of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency was supposed to discuss it last month. A late discovery that the project may have been miscalculated prompted officials to postpone the talks.



The proposal should more forward now, said Gary Midkiff, a project consultant.

“We don’t expect any more problems,” he said.




Some of Stateline’s casinos already have stormwater treatment systems on their properties, which include sand and oil separators, sediment traps and infiltration trenches. As a part of the project, more individual systems will be built. And after that treatment, the runoff will be routed to a common treatment facility behind the Horizon Casino Resort.

The common facility will treat the water with trash-rack and sand- and oil-separation vaults, and it will remove fine particles and hydrocarbons. From there, the water will discharge to wetlands on Edgewood Golf Course before going into Lake Tahoe.

Untreated runoff is believed to be a significant factor in Lake Tahoe’s declining clarity, and TRPA officials consider the project vital.

The project area is about 72 percent land coverage, cheating Mother Nature’s ability to filter stormwater.

The problem discovered last month was that all of the roofs of the casinos had not been calculated. More water could enter the system. While the piping and treatment facilities were large enough, the wetlands at Edgewood may not be able to hold all of the runoff.

To compensate for that, the project’s proponents plan to treat runoff from the Horizon’s roof differently. It will be treated on the Horizon’s property; then it will be diverted to another wetlands on Edgewood.

Midkiff said the runoff from the roof is fairly clean water and will receive enough treatment before it reaches Lake Tahoe. TRPA staff agrees.

Logistically, the Horizon is the best candidate for having its roof runoff exempted from the rest of the project.

Planning of the area-wide drainage system for the casino core began in 1988. TRPA adopted the Stateline Community Plan in 1993, which required the implementation of the area-wide drainage and treatment facility. All the contributing agencies in that area, except Wells Fargo Bank, signed a Stateline Regional Storm Water Treatment Disposal System Agreement in early 1997. Bill’s Lake Tahoe Casino, Caesars Tahoe, Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, Harveys Resort Hotel/Casino, Horizon, Douglas County and the Nevada Department of Transportation comprise the Storm Water Association.

Midkiff said Wells Fargo now has indicated a desire to get involved. The environmental documentation process took that possibility into consideration, and that shouldn’t affect the project moving forward.

The project should be completed by the end of June 2000.

“We’ve had an incredible amount of effort and support from all the parties this will be serving,” Midkiff said. “The properties have made progress alone, but everyone is coming together to make this happen. Everyone’s anxious to get this into place.”

breakout

What: Meeting of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board

When: April 28, 9:30 a.m.

Where: Tahoe Seasons Resort, Saddle Road at Keller


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