Remediation District Program to Temporarily Reduce Rates by Half, Saving Fee Payers $2.5 Million Over the Next Two Years

At its regular meeting, the Board of Washoe County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve amendments to the boundary and fee ordinances of the Central Truckee Meadows Remediation District (CTMRD), which was created in 1995 to address tetrachloroethene (PCE) contamination in groundwater that is used to meet municipal water demand.

PCE is a manufactured chlorinated organic compound that can be used as an intermediate product in chemical manufacturing and as a solvent by automotive repair shops, paint shops, machine shops, service stations and dry cleaning establishments. It is also used in some consumer products. PCE is also commonly referred to as tetrachloroethylene, perchloroethylene and PERC. At room temperature, PCE is a nonflammable liquid, and its extensive use from the 1940s through the 1980s had much to do with it being safer in the workplace than the flammable solvents used previously. PCE use has decreased since the 1980s because of increased efficiencies in the industrial processes where PCE is used, concerns over environmental impacts, and availability of alternative solvents. Currently, dry cleaning businesses and chemical manufacturers are the primary users of PCE.

Owners of water-using parcels in much of the Reno-Sparks area pay an annual remediation fee on their property tax bill that is used to fund the activities of the CTMRD program. The remediation fee rate will be reduced by 50% for FY 11-12 and FY 12-13, saving fee payers approximately $2.5 million over the biennium. These savings are possible due to process improvements that allow for the dissolution of this fund reserve.

The amendments approved today also result in changes to the contaminant boundary, which includes the areas in the central Truckee Meadows underlain by PCE contamination. Due to progress made since this boundary was first defined in 2001, the contaminant boundary will be reduced in area to 9.5 square miles from 16.5 square miles.

The primary objectives of the CTMRD program are to mitigate existing PCE contamination of groundwater, prevent additional groundwater PCE contamination from occurring, and protect those parts of the aquifer system that have not been contaminated by PCE. For more information about the CTMRD program, including current activities to address PCE contamination in the central Truckee Meadows, call Chris Benedict at 775- 954-4642 or visit: