North Truckee Drain Project gets underway

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North Truckee Drain Project gets underway

A $35 million flood management project to protect businesses in Sparks got underway this week.

Back in 1997, destructive flooding of the Sparks Industrial Area caused more than costly water damage.

"We lost businesses," City of Sparks Spokesman Adam Mayberry said. "They left the area because, after a while, with the threat of flooding constantly looming over some of these businesses, it does make it somewhat difficult and challenging to stay there and, in some cases, to relocate there because they know of that risk."

Mayberry says the 2,100-acre industrial area where roughly 25,000 people work, gets hammered the worst whenever there's a heavy downpour or flooding because it's in the lowest part of the valley. This project will minimize flooding in that area by up to a foot.

Crews broke ground on the project Monday, but Mayberry says the City has been raising funds for years.

"In the City of Sparks we actually, in 2008, tacked on a fee on the residents' and businesses' sewer bills," he explains. So residents in Sparks, for instance, pay about $5.41 every month and that is what we call a river flood fee, and much of that funding is being used for the North Truckee Drain project."

The Truckee Meadows Flood Project Authority is contributing an additional $4.75 million for the project, which has been in the works for more than a decade. The first phase will take a year and the entire realignment will be completed in five years.