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District Information

The South Tahoe Public Utility District, a public agency established on September 28, 1950, (pursuant to Section 9 of "The Public Utility District Act") supplies drinking water and provides sewage collection, treatment, and export to protect Tahoe's delicate ecosystem. Managing this complex operation requires an uncommon environmental sensitivity.

Our Vision

Maintain a dynamic organization that can quickly and proactively meet an ever increasing environment of regulations and scarce resources.

Our Mission

Furnish our customers with reliable water and wastewater services, and provide those services safely, efficiently, and cost effectively.

Strategic Goals

Provide exemplary customer service.

Provide reliable and safe water distribution, wastewater collection and treatment, and recycled water land application systems.

Foster a culture of efficient water use in our community, and promote public awareness of all District activities and the value of District services.

Develop staff to ensure professionalism and continuity of organizational knowledge.

Continue to be outstanding financial stewards.

Provide a safe and harmonious work environment for our employees.

Maximize appropriate use of technology to improve operational efficiency and prioritize asset replacement.

A Short History of the District

From 1951 until 1960 the District's facilities consisted of essentially two septic tanks. In 1960 a 2.5 million gallon per day (MGD) activated sludge plant was constructed.

In 1963 a study of the possible treatment methods to treat and dispose of sewage was undertaken by the Corvallis, OR. engineering firm of CH2M Hill under the direction of Russell Culp. At the time of this study treated wastewater was land applied near the plant. Upon passage of the Porter-Cologne Act, all wastewater was required to be treated and exported from the Tahoe Basin. Small scale tests were begun to determine if a treatment process that had never been applied to municipal wastewater could provide a treated water quality adequate to support a recreational reservoir in Alpine county. The tests were successful and the full scale, 2.5 MGD tertiary water reclamation plant was placed into service in 1965.

During this period of operation the District hosted many international visitors who came to observe and learn state-of-the-art wastewater reclamation. The technology Mr. Culp created at STPUD has been used throughout the world.

The plant was expanded to 7.5 MGD and the 27 mile export line placed into service in 1968.

The "Head Start" program in 1980 included emergency wet weather pumping improvements. In 1985 "Contract 1" began the modifications to advanced secondary operation. In 1989 the plant was expanded to 7.7 MGD, the Harvey Place Dam was completed and the advanced secondary operation started. No major plant expansions have occurred since 1989.

Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) Process Diagram

Public Utilities Code Section 15501-15507

General Manager:

Richard Solbrig


Assistant General Manager:

Shannon Cotulla

Chief Financial Officer:

Paul Hughes


South Tahoe Public Utility District board meetings are open to the public and are held at 2:00 p.m. the first and third Thursday of each month at the District office, located at 1275 Meadow Crest Drive, South Lake Tahoe.

Water System:

  • Over 14,000 residential water connections
  • 660 commercial and government sites
  • 16 active wells

Collection System:

  • 330 miles of sewer lines
  • 42 lift stations
  • 17,000 connections

Treatment Plant:

  • 7.7 MGD capacity
  • 1.8 billion gallons treated annually
  • Average 4.0 MGD flow

Export System/Alpine County

  • A $80 Million Dollar Facility
  • 10.4 miles of A-line
  • Luther Pass Pump Station
  • 4.3 miles B-line (1,240 vertical feet)
  • 10.7 miles C-line
  • Harvey Place Reservoir
  • Indian Creek Reservoir
  • Land Application System
  • Diamond Valley Ranch

Jurisdiction of STPUD

Service Area

  • Portions of El Dorado County within Tahoe Basin
  • Hwy 89 North to Cascade Lake
  • Hwy 89 South to Luther Pass
  • Hwy 50 East to Nevada state line
  • Hwy 50 West to Echo Lake
  • District Boundary Map

Funding Sources

  • User Charges
  • Water/Sewer billings
  • Connection fees
  • Property Tax Receipts
    • $6.8 million in 2011
  • El Dorado County Water Agency Funding
  • Other Income
  • Grant monies (EPA and FEMA)
  • FEMA reimbursements
  • Interest Income

Customer Assistance Program (CAP)

What is it?

The Customer Assistance Program (CAP) is a low-income assistance program for qualifying residential customers. Per the program guidelines, a customer is defined as the owner-of-record of a parcel served by water or sewer connection. The amount of the discount is 20% of the standard residential sewer and water rate. Qualifying customers will receive their discount as a credit to their quarterly utility bill. Please visit the Customer Service Department webpage to view program specifics and to download an application.

Program success

The program has been well received and currently has 299 participants.

Helping Hands Outreach

What is it?

Emergency assistance program to customers who need help in paying their water and/or sewer bill but are ineligible for, or have exhausted, all other available financial assistance sources.

Program Success

  • Over $ 50,000 in assistance
  • Totally voluntary program
  • No administrative overhead - 100% to recipients

District Digests

Recent District Awards

1993 CWEA WWTP of the Year
1994 US EPA WWTP of the Year
1998 CWEA Collection System of the Year
1999 CWEA Collection System of the Year
2000 CWEA WWTP of the Year
2001 US EPA WWTP of the Year
2001 CWEA Wastewater Treatment Plant of the Year, Small Plan Category
2002 TRPA Best in the Basin Winning Project for "A" Line Horizontal Drill
2003 George Burke Jr. Safety Award (National)
2003 CWEA Plant Safety Award (California)
2004 CWEA Safety Award (small plant category)
2004 Special District Association Innovation in Government Honorable Mention
for the District's Grant Program collaborations with Alpine County (09/04)
2004 CWEA Burke Safety Award (small plant category, CA)
2004 CWEA Sierra Section, Collection system of the Year (medium plant category, CA)
2005  California Society of Municipal Finance Officers, Outstanding Financial Report
2005  CWEA Sierra Section, Regional Collection System of the Year
2005  Distinguished Champion of the Disabled, Tahoe Area Coordinating Council for the Disabled
2005  CSMFO Excellence in Public Communication Budgeting
2006  The GFOA Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting
2007  The GFOA Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting
2008  The GFOA Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting
2009  The GFOA Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting
2010  The GFOA Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting
2011  The GFOA Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting
2012  The GFOA Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting