Sewer spill contaminates local lagoon |

Sewer spill contaminates local lagoon

A sewer spill in Tahoe Valley off Emerald Bay Road was reported Friday evening by a resident whose toilet backed up.

South Tahoe Public Utility District responded to the call and found sewage flowing from the front and back doors of a vacation rental at the corner of West Way and Weir Street where no one was home.

Two houses were affected by the spill and a wetland lagoon close to the Tahoe Keys was contaminated.

STPUD information officer Dennis Cocking said grease and rags caused the blockage, which resulted in the spill.

“(Grease and rags) are the most common problem,” Cocking said. “Grease is kind of the cholesterol of sewer systems. We ask the public not to put grease down their sinks or flush things down their toilets that shouldn’t be.”

Signs have been posted in the contaminated area by the El Dorado County Environmental Management Department.

Cocking said the public should avoid the immediate area, the drainage ditch and area leading to the lagoon. Ice skating on the lagoon should also be avoided. Cocking said people on foot, cross country skis or snow shoes should steer clear of the area, especially from the 15th St., route.

Cocking was not aware of any health complications resulting from the spill and said there are no private wells in the area so no drinking water was contaminated.

Cocking said the freezing night time temperatures aided in the containment of the spill.

STPUD, El Dorado County, the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency are formulating a clean-up plan for Monday.

Cocking said the spill is relatively small- one of about three spills STPUD responds to annually, which is well below the national average of 20 reportable spills.

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