STPUD plans to move ahead with project |

STPUD plans to move ahead with project

While the 1999 building season may have been a setback, the South Tahoe Public Utility District plans to move forward with construction of its new recycled water export pipeline next summer.

It was a little more than one year ago when STPUD canceled 1999 construction plans because of a confusion-filled dispute with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over funding. However, that disagreement was resolved earlier this year.

At a meeting in December, STPUD likely will hire the lowest of six bidders to complete its $2.3 million “A-Line Phase 3” portion of the project.

“(The dispute) cost us a year. This actually should have happened this summer,” said Dennis Cocking, STPUD information officer. “We have since resolved that; we don’t anticipate any problems for this phase of the project.”

The utility district has spent the past few years working to replace its recycled water export pipeline, which carries 1.7 billion gallons of recycled water 26 miles to Alpine County each year, where it irrigates more than 2,000 acres of ranch land. Originally built in the 1960s, under an EPA mandate to pump wastewater out of the basin, the pipeline had experienced breaks and spills.

Stemming from the 1997 Presidential Summit at Lake Tahoe, $7.15 million was appropriated by Congress in October 1997 to go to STPUD to help for the construction of the new pipeline the district had already spent millions of dollars on. There was a dispute between STPUD and EPA last year as to how the district should be paid the money.

The construction planning takes months, and STPUD officials last November didn’t feel comfortable going forward with the 1999 work at that time without a resolution.

The work now planned for 2000 will run from the district’s wastewater treatment plant in South Lake Tahoe to Tahoe Paradise. It includes difficult “directional boring” to dig a 1,100-foot tunnel 25 feet under Trout Creek. A business called Cherington Corporation, a pioneer in the field of directional boring, will be the subcontractor doing the work.

“We hope to begin the project in early spring of 2000 and anticipate completion on or before the Oct. 15 deadline,” said Jim Hoggatt, STPUD construction manager. “Any time construction takes place in the Sierras, we are always at the mercy of the weather so time lines are only estimates.”

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