Water contamination not widespread | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Water contamination not widespread

Adam Jensen

Additional tests have determined groundwater contamination in the Tahoe Meadows subdivision is localized in the development’s northeast corner, regional water quality officials said Thursday.

The initial contamination of two wells was discovered at the start of the Labor Day weekend in the subdivision approximately one mile west of Stateline along Lake Tahoe’s South Shore.

Out of 46 private drinking water wells tested in the subdivision to date, four have been determined to contain unacceptable levels of tetrachloroethylene (PCE), as of Thursday afternoon.

One of these wells was also found to contain potentially dangerous levels of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE).

“We’re relieved that the contamination appears to limited to a small area of the Tahoe meadows subdivision, and only a few residences were affected,” Chuck Curtis, supervising engineer for the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, said on Thursday.

Freon and chloroform were also among contaminants in some subdivision wells, but these contaminants were found to be within safe drinking water standards.

The area east of Tahoe Meadows has more than a decade-long history of “scattered contamination” at levels not considered a public health hazard, Curtis said.

“The exact source isn’t known,” Curtis said. “A likely potential source is a former dry cleaner in what used to be called the Crescent V Shopping Center.”

The shopping center now houses the Raley’s supermarket near Stateline.

“If we can identify a discharger, we will require the discharger to do clean up actions,” Curtis said. “At this point, we don’t have any dischargers identified.”

Testing is continuing on a few remaining wells in the subdivision to ascertain the edge of contamination.

Due to the proximity of the contaminated wells to Lake Tahoe, Curtis suspected some contaminants may have reached the lake, although he didn’t expect the chemicals would have “any measurable effect.”

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