The South Tahoe Public Utility District is carrying out a wide range of upgrades that lower long-term costs, protect the environment and ensure long-term, quality service for your water, wastewater and recycled water systems. In 2014, the District’s Board of Directors approved a series of annual rate increases to help fund more than $50 million in critical improvements to your water, wastewater, and recycled water systems. Below are some of the results from your investments over the last five years.

Water System Upgrades Improve Fire Flow and Water Conservation

Fire Hydrants and Waterlines

More than 200 new fire hydrants and 23,000 feet of larger waterlines were installed to provide adequate fire flow throughout our community.

Water Meter Installations

More than 5,400 new water meters were installed with the final 2,000 to be completed in the next two years to meet the state’s mandate. Using water wisely reduces your bill, energy consumption, our carbon footprint, and the need to build new wells.

Wastewater System Improvements Protect Lake Tahoe and Sensitive Habitats

Wastewater Treatment Plant

Four vital treatment plant facilities were rehabilitated. This extends the life of these facilities for many decades and maintains the District’s 23 year record of meeting treatment requirements.

Fallen Leaf Lake

A series of sewer system improvements have been completed to reduce operating costs and the risk of sewage spills in this beautiful and sensitive area.

Upper Truckee Marsh

Encroaching river flows have been returned to their proper channels, thereby protecting the sewer collection system and reducing the risk of sewage spills into the marsh.

Recycled Water Improvements Protect the Environment and Lower Costs

The District exports all of our treated wastewater out of the Tahoe Basin to keep Lake Tahoe blue.

 Luther Pass Pump Station

This station pumps an average of 3.9 million gallons of recycled water per day over Luther Pass and has been in continuous operation since 1968. Pump upgrades, new high-efficiency motors, and new electrical and control gears were completed to increase the reliability and efficiency of this critical pump station.

Alpine County

The new irrigation and energy recovery facility is producing alfalfa and enough hydro-electricity to power 55 homes (see picture).

Current Needs Assessment

The District’s complex water, sewer, and recycled water systems need ongoing maintenance, replacement, and improvements. The District has identified needs in three main areas:

Community-Wide Fire Flow

Wildfires present a danger to our life, property, community, and environment. While we have made significant progress since 2014, much remains to be done in order to provide adequate fire flow throughout our entire service area. More than 10 percent of our community lacks access to a fire hydrant that will provide sufficient fire flow. Catastrophic fire starts small and every hydrant matters.

Water System Rehab and Replacement

Most of our water system was built in the early 1960s and is a collection of undersized, aging, and sometimes leaking pipes. Additional investments are needed to extend the life of our water system to ensure reliable delivery of high quality water. Replacing waterlines before they reach the end of their useful life prevents emergency projects and lowers long-term costs.

Sewer System Rehab and Replacement

Like our water system, most of our sewer collection and treatment system was built in the 1960s. During the big winter of 2017, storm water entered the sewer system causing peak flows and risking sewer spills. In response, we initiated a condition assessment program and developed a 10-year rehab plan to fix sewer lines that are failing. Major upgrades are needed at our five largest sewer pump stations to extend their useful life and to keep sewage flowing reliably to the Waste Water Treatment Plant. Additional investments in the older parts of our treatment plant will keep the process running smoothly.


Upcoming Public Meetings

Come learn how your water system is being improved to meet firefighting needs and what is being done to prevent sewer spills in Lake Tahoe. Over the last 5 years over $50 million has been invested in your water, wastewater and recycled water system. Find out what has been accomplished and what improvements are still needed. All meetings will be held in South Tahoe Public Utility District’s Board Room at 1275 Meadow Crest Drive, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150.

  • Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at 6:00 P.M.  – Find out what has been accomplished over the last five year and what capital improvements are still needed.
  • Thursday, February 7, 2019 at 6:00 P.M. –  Find out what costs are associated with future capital improvements and how this may impact your rates.
  • Thursday, April 18, 2019 at 6:00 P.M. – Find out the proposed rate structure associated with these capital improvements.

Additional opportunities to engage

  • Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 11:30 A.M. – Board Workshop: Rate consultant presents initial results of rate study to the Board of Directors and seeks directions and changes to incorporate into the rate study.
  • Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at 2:00 P.M. – Board Workshop: Rate consultant presents updated rate study results to Board of Directors. Board will consider rate increases, and direct staff to issue Prop 218 notice and rate increase schedule.
  • Thursday, May 16, 2019 at 2:00 P.M. – Board Meeting: Public Hearing to present rate increase protests. Board will adopt rates and budget.



South Tahoe Public Utility District
Water and Sewer System Improvements
Public Workshop - December 20, 2019
John Thiel, PE, MBA
Engineering Manager