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Waste Water Pipeline Project. A simple depiction of the area. Intake. Downstream. Less dirty water. Wastewater treatment plants release ‘clean’ water. Polluted area. Dirtied water. LAKE MEAD. Las Vegas Wash. The area, the problem.

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Presentation Transcript
slide2

A simple depiction of the area

Intake

Downstream

Less dirty water

Wastewater treatment plants release ‘clean’ water

Polluted area

Dirtied water

LAKE MEAD

Las VegasWash

the area the problem
The area, the problem
  • 3 wastewater plants release an average of 144 million gallons per day (mgd).
  • This water passes through a polluted area before entering the Las Vegas Wash
  • The Las Vegas Wash is a wetland that acts as a natural filtration system.
  • The water then enters Lake Mead, which is Las Vegas’ source of freshwater.
  • The drinking water intake pipe for Las Vegas’ water lies 6 miles downstream of the Wash.
the polluted water and concerns
The polluted water and concerns
  • Pollutants:
    • Perchlorate: rocket fuel from local manufacturing sites discovered in 1997
      • Oxygen-rich salt that affects thyroid gland
      • Thyroid cancer is an effect of overexposure
      • May cause birth defects
    • Radiation
    • Street and lawn runoff (pesticides, oil)
    • Cryptosporidium
      • Killed 43 people in the L.V. Valley in 1994
evolution of the problem
Evolution of the problem
  • In 1998, Water Quality Citizens Advisory Committee requests the Southern Nevada Water Authority address local water quality issues.
      • How to avoid polluting and ruining local water supply and Lake Mead (recreation, etc.)
  • Water Authority vests Clean Water Coalition with authority to deal with these issues. Authority and EPA oversee CWC.
clean water coalition
Clean Water Coalition
  • Composed of the 3 agencies responsible for wastewater treatment entering the Wash.

1 The City of Las Vegas

2 The City of Henderson

3 Clark County Water Reclamation District

  • Proposed building a pipeline to divert wastewater farther away from the intake.
the pipeline proposal
The pipeline proposal
  • First proposed in 2001 as a $100 million project by the Clean Water Coalition
  • In 2002, cost estimates jumped

to $1 Billion.

  • Pipeline to empty south and east of point where Las Vegas Wash releases into Lake Mead. Pipeline endpoint(s) yet to be determined.
  • The pipeline would require drilling through mountains.
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Pros
  • Better water quality?
    • Pipeline empties farther away from intake pipe.
    • Less flow through Wash means Wash cleans its flow more effectively.
  • Pro-active measure?
    • Pre-empts future pollution regulations
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Cons
  • Exorbitant costs ($1 billion as current estimate!)
  • Drilling through mountains problematic:
      • Time and Cost
      • Effect on ecosystem?
      • Noise
  • Opportunity Costs
      • Las Vegas Wash
      • Recycling treated wastewater
      • Cleaning polluted area
options
Options
  • Do nothing
  • Clean polluted area and make industry responsible
  • Protect and enlarge wetlands area in the Wash
  • Build a low dam to prevent sediments from entering the Wash
  • Create floating wetlands to filter pollutants
  • Build supplemental treatment facility
unknowns
Unknowns
  • Endpoint(s) of proposed pipeline
      • Is the whole Valley polluted?
  • Is the amount of treated water significant to Lake Mead water quality?
  • Results of EPA’s impact assessment, begun in summer 2002
some alternatives to the pipeline
Some alternatives to the pipeline
  • Clean polluted area and make industry responsible.
  • Protect and enlarge wetlands area in the Wash.
facts about the wash
Facts about the Wash
  • Environmentalists claim that the Wash’s wetlands can remove nearly any water pollutant that has caused local concern.
  • Takes only a few months to increase number of plants that “scrub” pollutants from water