Draft spending bill includes $140 million for new water treatment in Las Vegas
Up to $140 million could be heading to the city of Las Vegas for a new water treatment system. The Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak fire burned the Gallinas River watershed, filling the city's primary water supply with ash and debris when floods poured down burn scars.
The proposed funding is included in a draft omnibus spending bill that Congress could pass this week. The appropriation would be incorporated into the legislation passed earlier this year that promised to compensate victims of the fire for everything they lost, because the huge blaze was accidentally started by a federal agency, the US Forest Service.
In Las Vegas, Mayor Louie Trujillo said that the Gallinas River is likely to have more ash and debris in it, indefinitely.
"The river is damaged and it's broken," he said. "And so we will eventually have to replace the entire filtration system for the community."
The city nearly ran out of water earlier this year, because its filtration system could no longer handle the river's contaminated water. For now, a workaround has been built that uses reservoir water but Trujillo said he is not sure how long that will function.
So, the city wants to build a new water treatment system, and, as drought intensifies, a more efficient one.
"We're also looking at a reuse system where we are going to reuse our effluent water and convert it into a quality of drinking and blend it into our drinking water," he said.
This story's headline has been updated to reflect that that actual proposed amount is $140 million.