Kings Beach rec areas remain closed following sewage spill
While initial cleanup is finished, test results Monday at Kings Beach show improvement but not enough for five beaches closed 200 yards from the shore to open after 120,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled at Lake Tahoe last week.
Placer County’s public health lab will continue to run tests on water samples to see how quickly the water is returning to normal.
The tests that will allow the beaches to be reopened can take two to five days to get results, county health officials say.
On July 19, construction crews installing a pier for two private beachfront property owners punctured a 14-inch sewer main line. The preliminary estimate is that 120,000 gallons of sewage spilled onto the beach and into the lake and nearby beach ponds.
The initial test information continues to show levels of contamination above acceptable levels, officials said Tuesday.
Once the levels decrease, the Placer County Public Health officer will make the determination as to when the beaches will open. No illnesses have been reported to Placer County officials.
Initially, the task force had used a 24-hour test to validate the beach closures; however, those tests did not provide health officials with enough data to allow them to be opened for public use.
Officials must receive two consecutive tests within the acceptable range in order to reopen beach lake access. The acceptable range for Lake Tahoe is more stringent than federal standards.
On Saturday, officials opened beach-only use areas from Secline Beach to the Coon Street Boat launch and the parking lot and picnic areas of North Tahoe Beach. The lake and ponds next to the beaches remain closed in these areas.
The areas affected by the closures are Kings Beach State Recreation Area, Coon Street Boat Launch, North Tahoe Beach, Secline Beach and the public beach at the end of Deer Street. Closest to the spill site, all beaches and water areas remain closed from Griff Creek to the pier immediately west of the Edgelake Beach Club. Delineators, barricades and posted notices will mark all closed areas. All water areas are closed 200 yards from the shore.
On Friday, 2 inches of sand were removed from the immediate vicinity of the spill area where raw sewage was on the beach. This removal allows sunlight to penetrate deeper into the sand and kill bacteria. About 200 yards of sand were removed and trucked to a landfill. Additionally, crews vacuumed water that remained in beach ponds after the spill.
Because of normal lake action and groundwater movement, these ponds will refill but will continue to be tested, officials said.
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