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Sewage Spill Follow-Up

TitleSewage Spill Follow-Up
Author/CreatorCobourn, John; Purdy, Shelly; Segale, Heather M.
Related item(s)Press Release available at
Date Original2005-07-28
Summary/DescriptionLake Tahoe Report Segment #129 - "Sewage Spill Follow-up" (Air Date: 8/2/2005). John Reuter from the Tahoe Environmental Research Group discusses the impact that sewage spills have on the lake.
SubjectWater -- Pollution -- Tahoe, Lake, Region (Calif. and Nev.)
Sewage -- Environmental aspects -- Tahoe, Lake, Region (Calif. and Nev.)
LocationLake Tahoe (Calif. and Nev.)
Tahoe, Lake (Calif. and Nev.)
CollectionThe Lake Tahoe Report
Original PublisherLake Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition (
Electronic PublisherUniversity of Nevada, Reno - Department of Teaching and Learning Technologies
Ordering and Permissions InformationFor more information, contact the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, or 775-832-4138.
Date Digital2006-02-15
RelationRequires Windows Media Player
Resource TypeMoving Image
Contributing InstitutionUniversity of Nevada, Reno
TranscriptionSegment A129: Sewage Spill Follow-up Air Date; August 2, 2005 Tease @ 30:07 "What effect has the sewage spill in Kings Beach had away from the shoreline? I'm Shelly Purdy, I'll have all that information for you coming up on this week's lake Tahoe report." Anchor intro: A sewer line break near Kings Beach two weeks ago resulted in the release of some 120-thousand gallons of raw sewage spilling directly into Lake Tahoe. Health officials closed the beaches near the spill and have spent the past two weeks cleaning up the site. But what effect does a spill like this have on the overall clarity of Tahoe? Shelly Purdy takes a look in tonight's Lake Tahoe Report. TAKE PKG ((Track 1)) The obvious immediate effects of a sewage spill of this magnitude are concerns regarding public health and safety. Raw sewage contains pathogenic bacteria, viruses and other parasites such as giardia and cryptosporidium…all of which can make a person very sick. The first order of business after the sewer line break was to contain the spill and start the cleanup process. Nearby beaches were closed causing a huge impact on local businesses. But, now that the beaches have reopened and the spill has been contained…what are the long-term effects to the water quality of Lake Tahoe? ((sot @ 25:03 John Reuter, Tahoe Environmental Research Group)) "It probably won't have an effect on the lake as a whole. It will have a local effect. There might be more algae growing on the rocks…that attached algae. That will probably be impacted by that." ((track 2)) In the late 1960's scientists recognized the potential threat sewage has to the quality and clarity of Lake Tahoe. A highly sophisticated system was built to export all the raw sewage generated around Tahoe out of the basin. ((sot @ 26:10)) "All the sewage gets exported either up to Truckee or down south and out of the basin. So in large part, this whole system has been a very positive thing." ((track 3)) If that system had never been built…a sewage spill like this would almost be a moot point. Sewage contains high levels of nutrients…which contribute to the growth of algae in the lake. Keeping sewage out of the lake over the past 30 years has certainly helped to protect Tahoe's quality and clarity. With the Lake Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition, I'm Shelly Purdy for KOLO news Channel 8. Anchor Tag: Many people have asked the question why are sewer lines located so close to the lake's shore? The sewer lines were built near the lake to accommodate the large number of homes and businesses that are located close to shore. Also, the shoreline of Lake Tahoe has eroded and changed over the years. So, pipes that once were on land may very well now be under water.

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