Construction season could be on hold due to wet soil |

Construction season could be on hold due to wet soil

by Andy Bourelle

The excavation season is starting. It’s time to get the shovels and the bulldozers out, and dig, dig, dig.

Well, not necessarily.

The heavy snowpack in many parts of the Lake Tahoe Basin may cause a delay in the start-up of grading and excavation activities for some permit holders, according to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. At Lake Tahoe, the grading season begins May 1 every year, but only on building sites that are free of snow and are in a relatively dry, stable condition. TRPA rules prohibit moving dirt if the site is saturated, muddy or unstable.

Field specialists for TRPA are starting to schedule pre-grade inspections at construction sites for the 1999 season. Those inspections are required before construction can begin under permits issued by TRPA or by local building departments.

Digging wet soil increases the chance of erosion problems, which ultimately hurt the declining clarity of Lake Tahoe.

“(We have these rules) because meteorological data tells us we have higher precipitation from Oct. 15 to May 1,” said Pam Drum, TRPA public affairs coordinator. “There is less likelihood of erosion due to stormwater runoff in dryer weather.”

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