12/08 unedited tahoe mt. news
By Kathryn Reed
A biomass boiler at South Tahoe High School has been scrapped.
After years of discussions, it finally came down to money. Equipment needed to comply with county and state air quality regulations makes the project cost prohibitive, according to El Dorado County and Lake Tahoe Unified officials.
“Because it was at a school it became problematic,” EDC Supervisor Norma Santiago said. “The way the plume would move it would affect the neighborhood.”
Devices can be inserted into a biomass broiler to reduce the particulate matter from the burned wood that is released into the air, but that equipment makes the project financially not doable.
The ancient, creaky boiler will be replaced with natural gas next summer. Cost estimates are in the half million dollar range. Money will come from Measure G.
“The project has not been developed conceptually, so these costs may change during design,” said Steve Morales, LTUSD facilities director.
Officials said technology keeps changing and that the various parties did not always reach consensus on what type of biomass boiler could be used at STHS.
Sierra Nevada Legacy was awarded a $243,000 grant for the project in 2006. Santiago said she is working with the environmental agency to find another place in El Dorado County to develop a biomass facility.