We have to put 50% of the water we take out of the Truckee River back in. We do this at TMWRF, the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility. Waste water is pumped from regional water treatment plants to TMWRF to be cleaned up before it goes back into the river. The facility has a capacity of 40 MGD (million gallons per day) and is currently running at 27 MGD so there looks like there is some excess capacity. Not so.
The facility exceeded environmental standards for nitrogen release in 2006, before the levels returned to targeted levels as our population shrank. The facility again exceeded nitrogen releases in January and February this year and has just been fined $16,000. The actual capacity of the plant is limited by how much we can clean up the water. There is an interim nitrogen removal system scheduled to on line in a year that is estimated help an estimated 7%. By TMWRFs figures, this will accommodate up to 3800 new SFRs. Right now, there is NO AVAILABLE CAPACITY based on winter nitrogen levels, yet building permits within the service area are being routinely approved. The improvements required to allow TMWRF to function at its designed capacity are estimated at $40M.
HERE is the TMWRF service area. If you are interested in the approved subdivisions in the Truckee Meadows, take a look at THIS data from 2006 from the UNR Center for Regional Studies and get ready for your jaw to drop. Unincorporated Washoe County data is HERE from 2009, though mostly included in the overall numbers. Water Treatment capacity is not reserved when a subdivision is approved – each house pays for the capacity when the building permit is issued.
Tesla = 22,000 direct and indirect jobs. 7000 new SFRs in the TMWRF service area? Water isn’t our issue, Waste Water is. Time to proactively address the issue STAT.