Trade West was selected Aug. 21 to grade and repair shoulder erosion to a section of Canyon Crest Boulevard.
The Virgin Valley Water District Board of Directors awarded the $4,800 contract after a brass fitting on the end of a two-inch, high-density, polyethylene pipe came off on Aug. 6. Water gushed from the open pipe at an estimated 1,000 gallons per minute, General Manager Ken Rock told the board.
That stretch of Canyon Crest is near the Abbott Wash and close to where Canyon Crest turns and becomes Horizon Boulevard. The undeveloped area is little trafficked and Rock admitted it’s not known how long the water flowed and how much was wasted.
The capped pipe was put in place during the community’s earlier expansive growth period, Rock explained. When growth slowed, many areas which were being prepared for development were not completed.
In his memo to the board on the repairs, Rock noted, “This event has made our field crew re-assess the many live laterals coming out of the ground in areas of the city where fast development was expected several years ago.” Based on that assessment a number of vulnerable, larger exposed pipes were identified and the laterals were closed off at the mains. Smaller one-inch laterals in residential areas do not have surface access.
A discussion to select a date for a public workshop to review possible changes to the Virgin Valley Water District’s charter was unanimously tabled until the next VVWD Board meeting on Sept. 5. The proposed workshop would solicit input on making changes to the charter to allow for the election of all five board members. The board now consists of three elected members and two appointed members, one from the City of Mesquite and one from Bunkerville Township. The discussions would also include but not be limited to compensation for serving on the board and redistricting.
Directors Kenyon Leavitt and Rich Bowler encouraged the board not to move forward until after the upcoming Mesquite City Council and Bunkerville town board meetings. Leavitt noted, “I’d like to hold this until the Bunkerville town board has had a chance to discuss and give us their recommendations.” He also added later in the meeting that, “Basically it’s our call at the end but I think we all represent people in the community.” Bowler agreed, “Bottom line is we represent the water district and we need to do what is best for the water district.”
Director Ted Miller, who requested the change at the Aug. 7 VVWD meeting, said he understood their reasoning, but stressed the need to move on the issue since public input was important.
Board President Karl Gustaveson agreed, noting, “Our consultant (Warren Hardy) has made it real clear to us that this is an item that needs some public input so we’re probably going to have a couple of public meetings.”
The public hearings are necessary since any changes would have to go to upcoming the Nevada Legislature for approval. Bowler added, “… he (Hardy) also indicated we need to be pretty much united to go in front of the (Nevada) Senate with this.”
Discussions also took place on potential changes to the district’s drug-and-alcohol testing policies. District counsel Bo Bingham noted that the existing policy was adequate but lacked the detail of a policy provided to the district by its insurance provider. He also provided several other examples from other governmental agencies.
Rock explained the testing procedures of several other agencies where he previously worked which were more proscriptive than the simple policy which presently exists at the VVWD.
In a round-robin discussion, the directors covered the pros and cons of having a policy that selectively allowed for the testing of a specific group of employees, such as those holding a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License for heavy equipment). They also considered the potential liabilities related to employees singled out for testing due to suspicious behavior.
Ultimately the board directed that staff and legal counsel work together to prepare a draft policy and to research a number of topics related to implementing that policy. The board specifically wanted to required drug testing for new hires, testing after any accident involving district personnel, and on potential workman’s compensation claims.
The board also asked for ideas on how to implement a random drug testing program for all district employees, to research potential organizations to run such a program, to determine the cost of such a program and to evaluate methods of allowing supervisors to identify employees with potential problems.
In what was described by several members as “the longest motion in the board’s history” the directors unanimously agreed to have staff look into the issues and bring their findings and a draft policy back to the board at a future date.
In other business, VVWD Hydrologist Aaron Bunker reported that the district had filed for 14 extensions of time with the Nevada State Engineer’s office on surface and ground water rights. These included the District’s 2,154 acre-feet of water at Nickel Creek Stream.
He also said he was continued to work on the proposed Virgin Peak and Nickel Creek Right-of-Ways (ROWs) within the proposed Gold Butte National Conservation Area (NCA) with the assistance of Abbey, Stubbs, & Ford (AS&F) and Bowen Collins & Associates (BC&A).
When asked about the present status of the failed Bunkerville diversion structure repairs, Bunker deferred to John Willis of the City of Mesquite. Willis explained that they had received federal Natural Resources & Conservation Services (NRCS) funding for the structure, which failed. Utilizing the NRCS funding the city put out a request for proposals and have engaged an engineering firm with which the city is working to finalize the cost.
“At this point the original estimate from NRCS, we believe, may be short to actually cover the replacement costs of the diversion structure,” Willis added, noting he was working with NRCS to obtain additional funds to complete the work on the structure.