A good sign that the Imlay water tank may need help is when more than a hundred rust spots appear on the floor of the structure. In two hours, scuba divers epoxied the damaged areas and videotaped previous reinforcement efforts intended to prolong the life of the tank another year.

Pershing County Planning and Building Supervisor James Evans told county leaders that the tank will need annual cleaning and inspection by the dive team “so we can stay on top of it.”

Evans said one of the two groundwater wells that feeds the county-owned water system is “out of compliance” and also needs help. The system supplies tap water to almost 100 Imlay customers. It could cost the county more than $3 million to replace the tank and repair the well. 

“As a result of asking for the tank, it has brought up other issues,” Evans said. “Technically, we are in non-compliance with well #2 because we are supposed to be able to run indefinitely on our backup well if our primary well goes down. So, that well will have to be rehabbed.”

A new tank will cost about $870,000 plus the cost of groundwater well restorations, Evans said.

“With engineering total costs, we’re upwards of $3,033,000,” he told county leaders. “The rehab of our old tank would be $370,000 and combined rehabbing of the wells is about $270,000.”

Or, for about $640,000, a temporary tank could be installed while the old tank is being rehabilitated and well #2 is being upgraded. Meanwhile, an engineering report on the project, in the works by Farr-West Engineering, could cost the county around $190,000, Evans said.

Imlay is expected to grow in the near future if people move to north Pershing County to work at the West Coast Salmon farm near Cosgrave. Evans said anticipated job growth could help the county qualify for NDEP (Nevada Department of Environmental Protection) state funds or a USDA loan to help fund upgrades to help bring the rural drinking water system up to speed.

County leaders will need to figure out which direction they want to go as project costs will likely increase. Evans said he’ll present the latest cost estimates at the next commission meeting. The good news is that rural water projects are at or near the top of the list for government programs.

“Projects like this are a top priority for USDA and the state-revolving fund,” Evans said. “I should probably agendize this for additional discussion. But, time is running out for the loans. The deadline is February 15...To submit for the grants, you have to have a preliminary engineering report...We can still submit for funding but it might not be until next year.”

Other “vendors” have told Evans that the price of steel “has almost tripled” and that other costs have gone up as well such as water tank coatings and project engineering costs, he said.

Evans said he’ll ask the engineering firm to estimate the costs of a less expensive solution.

“The alternative is to put in a temporary tank, get that up and running then take our old tank down, do a rehab and get it back up,” he said. “The long and short of it is, it’s going to cost but something has to happen with our current tank.”