Our Work: Current Activities & Projects

The Central Truckee Meadows Remediation District (CTMRD) program is implemented by the Washoe County Community Services Department (WCCSD) on behalf of the Board of County Commissioners (BCC). A team of seven WCCSD staff lead the CTMRD program efforts described below.

Remediation Management Plan Update

The Remediation Management Plan (RMP) guides the activities of the CTMRD program. The RMP is required by state statute (NRS 540A.260). It provides background on the program, delineates boundaries, identifies program goals and objectives, and defines roles and responsibilities of stakeholder agencies: WCCSD, City of Reno, City of Sparks, Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA), Washoe County Health District (WCHD), and Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP).

An update to the RMP commenced in 2010, however, staffing vacancies stalled the process in 2012. The update process recommenced in July 2014 but is currently on hold. Updates to the RMP are required to be adopted by the BCC and NDEP.

Wellhead Treatment

Wellhead treatment ensures the delivery of safe drinking water and is considered a cost-effective method of remediating the PCE contamination we have in the deep zone of the Truckee Meadows aquifer system. 

TMWA owns more than 30 municipal water supply wells in southern Washoe County. Five of their wells located in the central Truckee Meadows have Washoe County-owned PCE treatment systems in place. These systems remove PCE from groundwater using a process called air stripping. PCE removal by air stripping has been taking place in the Truckee Meadows since 1996. The CTMRD program funds the ongoing operation and maintenance of wellhead treatment at these PCE-impacted wells. The program will also fund any future wellhead treatment design, construction, along with operation and maintenance for other wells impacted by legacy PCE. 

TMWA and Washoe County have jointly developed a Pumping Plan, which defines the quantity and schedule for groundwater pumping at the five PCE-impacted municipal water supply wells. By meeting the specified pumping schedule and target volumes, not only is PCE is removed from drinking water, pumping also helps prevent the potential migration of PCE in the aquifer system. This protects the uncontaminated portions of the aquifer system and the other water supply wells located down-gradient from PCE plumes. These plumes are shown on the map included in the CTMRD program Annual Report.

Groundwater Monitoring Plan

Routine and systematic groundwater monitoring is an important part of the CTMRD program. Groundwater monitoring allows us to:

  • Track groundwater conditions beneath the central Truckee Meadows;
  • Gather the information needed to evaluate the distribution of PCE in groundwater;
  • Assess potential threats that contamination poses to municipal water supply wells; and,
  • Acquire the information needed to support practical and effective mitigation decision making.

The Groundwater Monitoring Plan (GMP) describes the process for monitoring PCE and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in groundwater in the central Truckee Meadows. The GMP was implemented in December 2003, when the first regularly-scheduled groundwater monitoring event was conducted. The GMP currently involves monthly water level measurements and quarterly water quality sampling at more than 200 wells.

Visit our Downloads: Maps & Reports page to view GMP annual reports.

PCE Source Management

Effective management of PCE sources is a prerequisite for the management and mitigation of existing groundwater plumes.  Source management focuses on goals that:

  1. Prevent contamination from current PCE users;
  2. Protect human health and the environment when releases do occur; and
  3. Mitigate historical sources that aren't subject to city, state, or other regulations.

1. Preventing Contamination from Current PCE Users

City of Reno and City of Sparks are the lead regulatory and outreach agencies for
current dry cleaners and other PCE-using businesses. 
They are the “boots on the ground” when it comes to providing information about PCE use and disposal requirements, and are the first line of defense for reducing or eliminating PCE discharges to the environment.

The cities and WCCSD jointly implement the Sewer Monitoring Program (SMP) which is designed to verify compliance with existing regulations that prohibit the discharge of PCE into the storm water and sanitary sewer systems. 

2. Corrective Actions

Once the activities on a specific property have been identified as the source for PCE groundwater contamination, the property is referred to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection's (NDEP) Bureau of Corrective Actions. NDEP regulatory options for corrective action sites include characterization and possible clean-up of the contamination.

3. Potential Source Area (PSA) Investigations

Investigating and characterizing legacy sources of PCE-contaminated groundwater is ongoing, with WCCSD leading the effort. These investigations focus on sources of contamination that cannot be attributed to a current user or a responsible party. There are currently six potential source areas (PSAs) under investigation in the central Truckee Meadows:

  1. Mill/Kietzke PSA - near the intersection of Mill Street and Kietzke Lane in Reno
  2. Vassar/E. Plumb PSA - the area along S. Virginia Street between Vassar Street and Plumb Lane in Reno
  3. West Fourth Street PSA - the old commercial and industrial corridor in Downtown Reno
  4. Downtown Sparks PSA - the old commercial and industrial corridor in Downtown Sparks
  5. El Rancho PSA - the area south of Oddie Boulevard between El Rancho Drive and Sullivan Lane in Sparks
  6. Joule PSA - located in the area bordered by Rock Boulevard, Mill Street, and Edison Way

Investigation activities include passive soil gas (PSG) sampling and/or active soil gas (ASG) sampling to characterize the PCE contamination on the site. As data are collected and analyzed, any area found to exhibit significant PCE contamination is assessed and considered for remedial action. High mass areas are of particular interest as these areas may have soil gas concentrations at levels that can cause groundwater PCE concentrations to exceed the drinking water standard. Please visit Downloads: Maps & Reports to read the CTMRD Annual Report which includes a map of the PSAs and includes annual updates on work completed in each area. Additional reports specific to each PSA can also be found on the Downloads page.

Outreach

Effective outreach is one of the four major objectives of the CTMRD program. CTMRD program staff and stakeholder agencies are committed to proactively communicating with each other, policy makers, affected business sectors, media, and the public about events, programs, and other efforts.

We meet with local community groups, including Citizen Advisory Boards. We are available to make presentations to groups interested in learning more about the CTMRD and groundwater in the central Truckee Meadows -- please contact Chris Benedict, Program Manager, at cbenedict@washoecounty.us or (775) 954-4642