Forest Service, other agencies respond to Taylor Creek spill
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The U. S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and other local agencies continue to investigate and clean-up a small spill of an unknown substance into Taylor Creek near the Forest Service Visitor Center on Highway 89.
The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board drew water samples from the area Monday morning. Results may be available by Tuesday and will help determine whether additional clean-up is necessary.
A Forest Service ranger opening the visitor center for the day on Saturday reported a 10 foot by 20 foot sheen on the water’s surface near the foot bridge on the Rainbow Trail. The Forest Service activated its hazardous spill notification protocols, contacting a number of local, state and federal agencies. The Lake Valley Fire Protection District and Fallen Leaf Volunteer Fire Department helped in trying to locate the source of the spill, and deployed booms and absorbent pads to remove the substance from the water and prevent it from moving toward the Lake. Forest Service spill coordinator Jim Harris determined the spill was isolated between the bridge on Highway 89 and just below the Taylor Creek foot bridge.
The source of the spill has not yet been located, but the spill is not expanding.
Earlier reports that the cause may have been a piece of petroleum-soaked AstroTurf are incorrect, Harris said.
If the spilled material proves to be strictly a petroleum product, Harris estimates the amount of the spill at about one to two gallons. The total amount of the spill could be larger if it turns out that petroleum was only one component of the material.
Wildlife and plants in Taylor Creek aren’t showing any signs of being harmed by the spill. The first school of Kokanee salmon arrived this morning.
El Dorado County is in charge of clean-up, and the Forest Service will continue to investigate the cause.