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Capital Improvement Program

Workers in high-visibility gear performing tasks, a forest landscape, a storage tank, a fire hydrant, and industrial machinery.

The South Tahoe Public Utility District is carrying out a wide range of upgrades that minimize long-term costs, protect the environment, and ensure long-term, quality service for your water, wastewater, and recycled water systems. On May 16, 2024, the District’s Board of Directors approved a series of rate increases to help fund critical improvements to your water, wastewater, and recycled water systems. Below are some of the results from your investments over the last five years and future project needs.

Water System Upgrades

Your investments over the last 5 years have funded:

  • Fire Hydrants and Waterlines - More than 120 new fire hydrants and 30,000 linear feet of larger waterlines were installed in the Black Bart, Bijou, and Rocky Point neighborhoods and throughout the City of South Lake Tahoe to increase fire flow over the last five years.
  • Back-Up Power - The District knows that you need water and sewer services during power outages and fires. To prepare, the District installed back-up power at 11 water tanks and at the wastewater treatment plant.

Water System Needs to be addressed over the next 5 years:

Two workers in high-vis near an excavator and a fire hydrant, engaged in construction or repair work.
  • Community Wide Fire Flows - Wildfires present a danger to our life, property, community, and environment. While the District has made significant progress, much remains to be done to provide adequate fire flow throughout our entire service area. In the next 5 years, the District intends to install or replace 180 fire hydrants and upsize waterlines in Bijou, Wildwood, Tahoe Mountain, Tahoe Sierra, Stateline, and Meyers neighborhoods.
  • Water System Upgrades - Most of the District’s water system was built in the early 1960s and is a collection of undersized, aging, and sometimes leaking pipes. In the last 5 years, we have seen over 1,000 water leaks. Replacing more than 60,000 linear feet of old waterlines in the next 5 years will provide adequate fire flow and help maintain good water quality. The District relies on 12 wells to provide delicious Tahoe tap and will be assessing these wells and planning replacements as needed.
  • Click here to see a list of proposed water projects for the next 10 years.

Wastewater System Upgrades

Your investments over the last 5 years have funded:

  • Wastewater Treatment Plant - All of South Lake Tahoe’s wastewater comes to the treatment plant to be cleaned through a complex process. The Secondary Clarifies at the treatment plant were upgraded to protect against earthquake damage and operate for another 50 years.
  • Sewer Pump Stations - When you flush the toilet, wastewater flows by gravity to low points in the sewer system. It is then pumped to higher ground and on to the treatment plant. The District began upgrades to its 3 largest pump stations, including Tahoe Keys, Upper Truckee, and Luther Pass, to ensure reliable wastewater and recycled water transport.

Wastewater System Needs to be addressed over the next 5 years:

Sewer crew worker in high-visibility vest using CCTV robot in a manhole, with safety cone nearby.
  • Like the water system, most of the sewer collection and treatment system was built in the 1960s. During the historic winter of 2023, stormwater entered the sewer system causing peak flows and risking sewer spills. To address these issues, the District will be rehabilitating and replacing 9 sewer pump stations, 30,000 linear feet of sewer mains, and 3 facilities at the treatment plant.
  • Recycled Water Strategic Plan - For over 50 years, all treated wastewater has been exported out of the Tahoe Basin to comply with state/federal laws and keep Lake Tahoe blue. The District is proactively evaluating options to determine the most cost effective and environmentally safe way to manage recycled water in the future.
  • Click here to see a list or proposed sewer projects over the next 10 years.

10 Year Plan

You can find the 10 year Capital Improvement Plan here. This plan outlines projects, budgeted costs and expected year of implementation. These project schedules are updated annually with input from the District’s Operations and Engineering Staff, so that we are confident that the most urgent needs of the water and sewer systems are being addressed at the right time.

Rate Increases

The Capital Improvement Program relies on small but continuous annual rate increases to fund the projects on the plan. By continuing to invest in our system, we will minimize long-term costs, protect the environment, and ensure long-term, quality service.

Visit our Rate Changes Page (see the right of this page) to learn about the rate study currently being developed.

Additional Resources