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Prevent Runoff from Polluting Lake Tahoe

TitlePrevent Runoff from Polluting Lake Tahoe
Author/CreatorCobourn, John; Purdy, Shelly; Segale, Heather M.
Related item(s)Press Release available at
Date Original2003-04-21
Summary/DescriptionLake Tahoe Report Segment #18 - "Urban Stormwater and Infiltration BMP's" (Air Date: June 3). A look at efforts to remove pollutants from and clean stormwater before it drains into Lake Tahoe.
SubjectRunoff -- Environmental aspects
Urban runoff -- Tahoe, Lake, Region (Calif. and Nev.)
Best management practices (Pollution prevention)
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 Digital2004-12-06
RelationRequires Windows Media Player
Resource TypeMoving Image
Contributing InstitutionUniversity of Nevada, Reno
TranscriptionSegment 18 - Urban Stormwater and Infiltration BMP's? Air Date: June 3 ((Anchor/Intro)) When snow and rain falls, runoff water then fills-up gutters and storm drains. At Lake Tahoe, most of that muddy water flows untreated directly into the lake. In tonight's Lake Tahoe report, Shelly Purdy takes a look at efforts to clean stormwater before it gets the chance to pollute. ((TAKE PKG)) ((nats urban stormwater tape @ :57-1:15 drainage ditch)) ((Track 1)) This drainage pipe is the end of the line for all the storm drains in the Tahoe City area. The water is collected and sent here - to this man-made wetland built to act as a natural filter. The wetland is a pilot study being conducted by the Tahoe Research Group - an affiliate of the University of California, Davis. ((sot urban stormwater tape @ 3:40 ? Andrea Parra, Tahoe Research Group)) 'so, when it rains or snows of any sort of runoff from the streets the drop inlets or drains here collect the water and it all gets routed into one pipe which goes into this cement forebay here. And the cement forebay is meant to slow the water down and let the larger particles settle out.? ((Track 2)) The water then is able to move slowly through the wetland. The native plants here act as natural filters by picking up the nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment in the water. Essentially the plants ?treat? the water and make it clean. Before development at Lake Tahoe, wetlands like this one surrounded the lake's shore keeping the water clear. But with development most of those wetlands were destroyed?wiping out the lake's natural filtration system. Researchers are now working on ways to rebuild the system. ((Sot @ 10:38)) "We're trying to recreate the natural system by putting in these man- made systems to replace the wetlands we?ve lost." ((Track 3)) But finding open land to do these types of projects is proving to be a difficult task. So for now, only a handful of these man-made wetlands are in operation around the lake. With the lake tahoe environmental education coalition, I'm Shelly Purdy for KOLO News Channel 8. ((Ancor/Tag)) By the way, the storm drains here in the Reno area flow directly into the Truckee River untreated. So think about that the next time you wash or change the oil in your car. All those chemicals that flow from your driveway into your gutter do eventually make their way into Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River. For more information about urban stormwater visit our website at

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