Published Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012 | 12:37 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012 | 7:25 p.m.
Clark County commissioners signed off Wednesday morning on settling lawsuits regarding North Las Vegas transporting treated wastewater via the county-owned Sloan Channel.
The North Las Vegas City Council in a meeting Wednesday night unanimously voted to ratify the settlement, meaning residents along the Sloan Channel can look forward to a future without swarms of bugs and the smell of rotting algae.
More than a year ago and without permission from the county, North Las Vegas began to release treated wastewater into the Sloan Channel, which is a floodwater channel that leads to Lake Mead. North Las Vegas had built a $300 million treatment plant, expecting funding from the Clean Water Coalition to build an underground pipeline to transport the wastewater. When the coalition mostly disbanded, so did the pipeline idea. When it did, the city began to release the water into the channel.
Then the city sued in federal court, asking for affirmation that it had the right to release the water into the channel; Clark County countersued in state court.
Residents along the channel complained that the warmed water from the plant created fertile territory for egg-laying insects and promoted algae growth. Bug swarms and a permanent stench, they said, emanated from the channel.
Under terms of the agreement, North Las Vegas will transfer $8 million to the county to design and build a pipeline that follows the path of the Sloan Channel. The county will spend another $7 million, bringing the total cost to $15 million. The city will repay the county the $7 million with a portion if its quarter-cent sales tax distributed by the Southern Nevada Water Authority over the next 10 years.
More terms of the agreement include:
• North Las Vegas will have to perform maintenance on the channel, including “mitigation of odors, algae, midges, mosquitoes, flies, spiders, bats, birds, aquatic insects, pests and/or other nuisances” that result from the discharge.
• The city will pay $109,000 to the county within 30 days for costs resulting from the discharge to date.
• Paying the county $50,000 to secure the city’s maintenance obligations.
• Paying the county an annual $50,000 user fee until the pipeline is finished.
• Paying $1.5 million for future road and other improvements in the area of the wastewater plant.
As part of the agreement, the North Las Vegas City Council on Wednesday voted to dissolve the Clean Water Coalition, which it had not wanted to do previously because of pipeline issues.