History of the CTMRD Program

Legislative Background

In 1995, the Nevada Legislature passed Senate Bill 489 of the 68th Legislative Session. Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 540A.250-285 came out of Senate Bill 489 and are the sections of state law that created and govern the Central Truckee Meadows Remediation District (CTMRD) in Washoe County. The legislation requires a Board of County Commissioners to create a remediation district in response to the Administrator of the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) or the District Health Officer certifying the existence of a groundwater contamination problem in their county.

The Washoe County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) received certified letters from both NDEP and Washoe County Health District in August 1995. The certification letters indicated that PCE in groundwater in the Central Truckee Meadows (CTM) had created a situation affecting the quality of water available for municipal, industrial, and domestic uses. The CTMRD program was then created by the BCC (through Washoe County Ordinance 1000) to develop and implement a plan to address the affected groundwater with the following objectives:

  • Protect groundwater resources for beneficial uses;
  • Protect innocent property owners from liability attributable to past practices;
  • Preserve property values; and,
  • Contribute to a vital local economy.

In 1997, the Nevada Legislature amended the NRS, adding NRS 540A.265 to fund the CTMRD program through a Remediation Fee. Since 1999, general tax bills for parcels within the CTMRD service area boundary have included this Remediation Fee. Service Area Boundary and Contaminant Boundary maps are on the Downloads: Maps & Reports page.

Wellhead PCE Remediation Comes Online in 1996

Mill Corbett municipal supply water well and PCE treatment systemAs local stakeholders worked to craft a framework to assess and manage PCE contamination in Reno and Sparks, and maintain a water supply that met federal drinking water standards, PCE remediation systems were designed and installed at five municipal water supply wells owned by Sierra Pacific Power Company (now Truckee Meadows Water Authority or TMWA). TMWA's High Street and Morrill Avenue wells were retrofitted to include PCE remediation systems in 1995 (coming online in 1996). In 1997, PCE remediation at the Mill Street well came online. In 1998, PCE remediation came online for the Corbett School and Kietzke Lane wells. Read more about the partnership between Washoe County and TMWA to maintain the viability of these essential wells at Our Work: Current Activities & Projects

1996 Work Plan

Beginning in 1995, CTMRD program activities began with a focus on characterizing the nature and extent of the PCE contamination in the CTM to determine an effective approach to address the situation (Camp, Dresser, and McKee, 1996, Central Truckee Meadows Remediation District Final Work Plan). Between 1998 and 2002, investigatory work focused on the sampling of surface water and groundwater wells, as well as the mapping of historic land use to identify Potentially Contributory Activities (that is, business types that may have used PCE). A site conceptual model was published in the 2001 Updated Work Plan (Camp, Dresser, and McKee). Several technical memoranda were published in 2002 outlining possible remedial actions, analyzing potential human health risks associated with PCE, modeling groundwater flow in the CTM aquifer system, and characterizing the contaminant transport mechanisms influencing PCE migration in the subsurface. The culmination of work done between 1995 and 2002 is published as part of the 2002 Remediation Management Plan.

2002 Remediation Management Plan

The development of a remediation management plan was a specific requirement of NRS 540A.260 when it was promulgated in 1995. The BCC adopted the CTMRD program's first Remediation Management Plan (RMP) in 2002. The plan was also approved by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.

The RMP defines the specific goals for meeting the following objectives:

  • Maintaining the continued use of groundwater in the central Truckee Meadows as a vital component of the public water supply;
  • Managing PCE in groundwater and/or surface water in such a manner to protect water users and property owners in the CTM;
  • Identifying and implementing remedial actions that are reasonably and economically feasible; and,
  • Equitably allocating the costs associated with the implementation of the Remediation Management Plan and its components among those who benefit from the existence of this program.

Work done through the CTMRD program since the adoption of the 2002 RMP has resulted in a better understanding of the nature and extent of PCE contamination in the CTM. This work has also resulted in a better understanding of the aquifer system and the processes that influence the distribution and movement of PCE. Additionally, cooperation among stakeholder agencies has developed and collaborative efforts have improved over time. An update to the 2002 Remediation Management Plan is currently underway to document this improved understanding and the ways that the PCE problem is currently being approached.

Groundwater Monitoring Plan

In 2003, Washoe County Community Services Department (CSD) developed a Groundwater Monitoring Plan (GMP) to effectively monitor PCE contamination in the CTM.  The GMP describes the process for monitoring PCE and other related volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in groundwater within the CTM.  Monitoring activities are designed to collect groundwater elevation and groundwater quality data to meet the following program objectives:

  • Characterize and evaluate PCE impacts to groundwater;
  • Identify potential sources of PCE contamination;
  • Verify that remediation activities implemented by the program are effective;
  • Assess threats to uncontaminated parts of the aquifer system and domestic or municipal water supply wells;
  • Provide annual updates to the conceptual site models;
  • Identify critical data gaps to the understanding of PCE occurrence and migration in the CTM; and
  • Provide recommendations and planned activities to address critical data gaps.

The groundwater monitoring program was implemented in December 2003, when the first regularly scheduled, quarterly groundwater monitoring event was conducted.   Since that time, CTMRD has routinely conducted quarterly groundwater sampling and monthly water level collection at approximately 195 active wells in the CTM. The principal goals of the project are to prevent, protect, and mitigate PCE contamination accordance with the Remediation Management Plan.

Visit our Downloads: Maps & Reports to view the most recent GMP.