Tahoe Keys water samples have elevated uranium levels

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Tahoe Keys residents have been months with limited water since water samples from November showed elevated levels of uranium.

A notice sent out by the Tahoe Keys Water Company said, “Our water system recently violated a drinking water standard. Although this is not an emergency, as our customers, you have a right to know what you should do, what happened, and what we are doing to correct this situation.”

The water samples showed uranium levels of 28.2 picocuries per liter in Well 2 which is above the standard allowable level of 20 pC/L/.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency areas with granite can be prone to uranium and radon levels.

“Granite, like any other stone, may contain veins of naturally occurring radioactive elements like uranium,” The EPA said, adding that uranium can turn into radon gas.

TKWC has taken Well 2 offline while they meet with engineers and consultants about possible solutions. In the meantime, one Tahoe Keys resident, Bruce Moon, said residents have been prohibited from irrigating their landscape.

South Tahoe Public Utility District is working to get water to the Tahoe Keys while the issue is being addressed.

“After modeling and performing field tests, we are currently in the process of modifying our system to be able to provide as much water as we can while maintaining adequate system pressure,” said Shelly Thomsen, public affairs and conservation manager for STPUD in an email. “Additional improvements will likely be necessary in the future if expanded or long-term water supply is needed.”

The Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association has told residents not to worry.

“This is not an immediate risk. If it had been, you would have been notified immediately,” the notice said. “However, some people who drink water containing uranium in excess of the [maximum contaminant level] over many years may have kidney problems or an increased risk of getting cancer.”

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