Materials dumped in local pond |

Materials dumped in local pond

Douglas County resident Bill Hanspol last Thursday was driving along and noticed a trail of concrete-colored stain going up Kingsbury Grade, onto North Benjamin and into Brautovich Park.

He followed the path and found a load of cement-like liquid had been poured into a retention basin at the park.

“It’s a big mess,” he said. “It’s pretty thick. It’s probably a foot and a half thick in some places.”

Hanspol’s concern led him to start making some phone calls. On Thursday and Friday that prompted a flurry of officials from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Kingsbury General Improvement District, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Nevada Department of Transportation and the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection trying to find out what the heck happened.

And here it is:

The Nevada Department of Transportation hired a construction company to perform the work that is under way at Edgewood Creek and U.S. Highway 50. There, workers were digging large holes through granite. To keep them from hitting the stream, the granite particles were pumped out and put into a nearby filtration trench. However, the filtration ditch filled, and the contractors had reportedly hired a company called Hydrotech to pump out the slurry – a thin, watery mixture of fine, insoluble material – and dispose of it in Carson Valley.

A driver allegedly disposed of it at the retention pond.

Debbie Burkett of KGID said she received numerous calls from concerned residents about the mess Friday.

“It looks terrible,” she said.

Hanspol said he was told it was 5,000 gallons. Rob Welsh, NDOT assistant resident engineer, said it was more like 1,000. The vacuum truck that hauled the material likely could carry the same amount of material as a typical cement mixer.

Welsh said Friday that Hydrotech would be cleaning up the mess over the weekend.

While it may look bad, Welsh said, the material isn’t dangerous.

“It’s not a hazardous material by any means,” he said.

Nevada’s environmental agency agrees.

“We’ll be continuing our investigation Monday,” said Joe Livak, enforcement branch supervisor of bureau of water pollution of the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection. “In the meantime, we don’t feel there’s any kind of imminent threat to the environment or public health.”

Health threats aside, one thing is for sure.

“It is definitely a violation of state law, and we will be taking the appropriate enforcement actions,” Livak said. “The leak of the material (onto the road) was also a violation. We’ll probably be citing for both what’s in the pond and what was in the road.”

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