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Assessment on restoring flow to hot springs at geothermal power project in Nevada

McGinness Hills geothermal power plant, Jersey Valley, Nevada (source: flickr/ BLM Nevada, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 10 Oct 2019

A comment period for an environmental assessment has been opened in Nevada. The goal of the project is to restore flow to the Jersey Valley Hot Springs in Nevada, affected by a nearby geothermal project.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has announced that its Mount Lewis Field Office, has completed analysis of the Jersey Valley Hot Spring Mitigation Project by ORNI 15 LLC/Ormat Nevada Inc. in Pershing County, Nevada,  and has opened the 30-day comment period on the Environmental Assessment.

The purpose of the Project is to restore flow to the Jersey Valley Hot Spring (JVHS), located about one mile west of the power plant, next to the Jersey Valley Road. It is understood that the spring has flowed continuously between 35 and 75 gallons per minute at a temperature of approximately 120°F for over 100 years. It is characterized by a pool about 40 feet in diameter. Historically, water welled up from the bottom of the hot spring pool, overflowed the rim of the pond, and flowed overland down gradient. The output from the spring was later collected and piped about 500 feet to a concrete collector box, and then was further piped several miles downhill to the Stremler Ranch.

From 2013 through 2015, it was observed that the JVHS output had decreased, and ultimately became dry. In the EA for the Jersey Valley Geothermal Development Project (EA # DOI-BLM-NV-063-EA08-091, dated May 2010), Ormat agreed that in the event of adverse impacts to the hot springs, mitigation would be implemented to restore the JVHS to normal conditions. It was agreed through coordination with the BLM and the water rights holder that Ormat would divert injection or geothermal water or another water source to the hot springs via a pipeline to mitigate.

The Environmental Assessment included coordination with ORNI 15 LLC/Ormat Nevada Inc., The Joe Saval Company, and other interested parties and stakeholders. The EA examined 14 resources associated with the mitigation project and analyzed the effects, both positive and negative, the proposed action will have on the affected environment.

The EA, DOI-BLM-NV-B010-2020-0002-EA, and other relevant documents are available on the BLM ePlanning webpage at https://go.usa.gov/xVM44 and hard copies of these documents are available for review at the Bureau of Land Management, Mount Lewis Field Office, 50 Bastian Road, Battle Mountain, Nevada 89820 during regular business hours, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Ormat is operating the McGinness geothermal power plant near the Jersey Valley Hot Springs in Nevada.

Source: BLM