Incline Village General Improvement District
Public Works Department
Waste Not Program
Public Works/Waste Not Program Internship
“Community Conservation Services to Protect OUR Resources.”
The following sections are priority services offered by the IVGID Public Works Waste Not Program that I am partly responsible for along with my coworkers and supervisors. Additional services are added on occasion to assist the official business of the District plus seasonal events and special projects.
Waste Not staff provides educational materials, interactive activities and technical services to residents and visitors on sustainability initiatives, recycling, waste reduction, bear awareness, trash storage, household hazardous waste disposal, electronics recycling, water conservation and watershed protection on a year-round basis, as well as at more than 40 Tahoe area special events annually. Four full-time employees and a pool of valuable volunteers staff our programs.
The purpose of the IVGID Sustainability Program is to responsibly manage resources under IVGID’s care, protect public health, and balance its social and environmental duties to the citizens and community while providing cost-effective services to ratepayers. Sustainability holds importance to Incline Village Public Works in terms of environmental, social and economic security. This importance is highlighted by Lake Tahoe, the place where we live, work, invest, and play.
The IVGID Sustainability Framework is a living document that was first produced in 2015 during my Americorps Service Year and is now updated to reflect the current fiscal year. It is designed to instigate a perpetual process within the organization that consistently evaluates sustainability measurements and goals after an initial benchmark assessment is conducted as the community of Incline Village/Crystal Bay becomes more resilient to future environmental challenges. This will establish a sustainability management and tracking system with an initial performance benchmark. Sustainability programs related to individual venues and departments will be researched for viability to IVGID operations. For example, the Sustainable Tourism Operator’s Kit for Evaluation or STOKE Certified has already been identified as a performance evaluation option for community owned Diamond Peak Ski Resort and self-reporting has been determined as the best available option for our Public Works Department.
The IVGID Board of Trustees approved Resolution Number 1836 in 2015 to direct District staff and future policies to consider sustainability and the environment in District operations, policies and planning. Long Range Principle Number One includes protecting the environment as a strategic goal for long term planning within the District. Some sustainability related objectives to these policies include funding for defensible space operations, formation of a District Sustainability Committee, and creation of an environmentally friendly purchasing policy to be approved by the Board of Trustees. These products are developed as phases to help guide implementation of the IVGID Sustainability Framework and together make up the IVGID Sustainability Program.
Recycling and Waste Reduction
General advice is given to the public in person, over the phone, in the mail, and by web communication on conservation techniques and acceptable recycling materials in the local single stream recycling program. Waste Management, Inc. provides weekly landfill bound and recycling collection services to Incline Village and Crystal Bay residents in addition to a transfer station where residents may dispose of excess waste or recycling. The IVGID community wide single stream recycling rate in 2016 was 20.11%. The Washoe County recycling rate was 29.5% and State of Nevada recycling rate was 22.4% for 2016 (www.nvrecyles.nv.gov).
The promotion of proper recycling protocol with internal and external customers is done through informational flyers and brochures with public outreach tabling and presentations at staff orientations for District-owned venues in addition to local private businesses upon request. Community clean up volunteer days are organized twice per year, one in June before the summer season is active and one in September in conjunction with International Coastal Clean Up Day/The Great Sierra River Clean Up.
Bear Awareness and Trash Storage
The IVGID Board of Trustees approved a new solid waste franchise agreement with Waste Management, Inc. on July 7, 2016 based on recommendations from a Solid Waste Committee. The new franchise agreement places priority on containerization of waste and recycling materials. All residents have been distributed one 64 gallon rolling cart for landfill bound waste and one 64 gallon rolling cart for commingled recyclables to both be collected once per week. Residents have the option to up-size to a 96 gallon cart or downsize to a 32 gallon cart and are allowed to return the recycle cart according to the individual property’s needs.
Wildlife Resistant Carts are available in 96 gallon and 64 gallon sizes for properties that want to prevent or have had issues with wildlife. Bear Shed service is available at the lowest monthly service rate for properties that have metal garbage can enclosures installed to incentivize best practices for securing and containing waste. The IVGID Public Works Waste Not Program offers assessments for Bear Shed placement on private properties and ran a rebate program to encourage property owners to install the metal enclosures.
Incline Village is a Bear-Smart Community and strives to prevent conflict with humans and wildlife in our suburban wilderness interface. Bears and other wildlife use creeks, meadows, and drainage areas as corridors to find food, water, and habitat. Unfortunately, a source of food can sometimes become unsecured garbage. The IVGID Board of Trustees has implemented a strict Zero Tolerance Policy regarding the Solid Waste Ordinance. Zero tolerance applies to solid waste/recycling overage and spills at individual properties and can be enforced by warnings and/or fines and is then tracked via Microsoft Excel to flag multiple violations.
Household Hazardous Waste Disposal and Electronics Recycling
Each person in the United States produces an average of 4 pounds of household hazardous waste each year for a total of about 530,000 tons per year in the United States of America. The Average U.S. household produces more than 20 pounds of household hazardous waste per year. As much as 100 pounds can accumulate in the home, often remaining there until the residents move out or conduct and extensive clean out (www.epa.gov). The IVGID Public Works Waste Not Program collects Household Hazardous Waste and Electronic Waste from current Incline Village and Crystal Bay residents with valid proof of residency. This program is operated every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:00pm to 5:00pm February 1 – October 31 and from 3:00pm to 4:30pm November 1 – January 31 or by pre-arranged appointment and closes during holidays and severe weather.
At least two staff members with HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response) certifications must be present during operational hours to ensure that all safety and regulatory codes are properly enforced. The HAZWOPER 24-hour class completion certified three Waste Not Program Staff in the spring of 2016. Hazardous Waste is properly disposed of through a company called Stericycle, Inc. and electronics are either properly disposed of with California Electronic Asset Recovery, Inc. or driven by Waste Not Program Staff via pick-up truck and trailer to NV Recycling, LLC in Carson City, NV for potential reuse.
The IVGID Waste Not program offers irrigation audits to homeowners in Incline Village and Crystal Bay, NV upon request. Public water conservation education and outreach is conducted at events such as Tahoe Truckee and South Lake Tahoe Earth Day Festivals, the Incline Village Fourth of July Community Fair, the Annual Lake Tahoe Summit, and other sponsored events related to environmental or local issues at Lake Tahoe. Outreach events usually include several interactive displays, info-graphics, surveys, flyers, and giveaway items such as reusable water pouches, leak tabs, and landscaping guides for the local ecosystem.
Lake Tahoe is a pristine water body that has unique characteristics. The United States Environmental Protection Agency considers Lake Tahoe to be an “Outstanding Natural Resource Water, Tier 3” giving the lake the same protective designation as Crater Lake in Oregon and Mono Lake in California. This designation allows the IVGID Public Works department to operate under a “filtration-exemption status.” Five other water purveyors from around the Tahoe Basin whose source of water is Lake Tahoe are also filtration-exempt.
The Tahoe Water Suppliers Association (TWSA) helps these agencies comply with state and federal standards while protecting the local quality of water. IVGID Public Works acts as the Executive Director of this group enlisting Waste Not Program staff to assist with water quality issues and events that relate to or are directly sponsored by the Tahoe Water Suppliers Association.
One way of protecting local water quality is to monitor and consistently observe the environment for any changes over time. The IVGID Waste Not Program facilitates six water quality samples from IVGID owned properties to help build a databank for our natural resource. IVGID Public Works staff has been monitoring and recording water quality data at Burnt Cedar Beach and Jetty, Incline Beach, Ski Beach, Third Creek and Incline Creek since 2004. Beach-site water quality parameters include general observations, temperature, turbidity, total coliform and fecal coliform. Dissolved Oxygen (DO) and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) are measured at creek-sites in addition to beach-site parameters.
At the End of the Day
This job position is fun, its challenging, and it encourages longevity and new opportunities for itself and for the employee. Every day is different and can change from an office focus to hazardous waste management in an afternoon. Customer service demands can also change the manner of the day in nearly an instant. Lake Tahoe is a beautiful place to work on a day-to-day basis and the worst traffic jams are on holidays or getting stuck behind a snow plow. Despite its unpredictability and constant juggle between the office and the field, it is a great job.