Lahontan Regional Water Board Developing Pollution Limits For Bridgeport Reservoir
South Lake Tahoe - The State agency responsible for regulating water quality in the eastern Sierra has announced that it will begin developing daily pollutant limits for the Bridgeport Reservoir. Called Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), these pollutant limits are required by federal law for all water bodies that are not meeting State water quality standards and which are not expected to meet State standards after control of "point sources," such as factories and sewage treatment plants. Federal regulations require that TMDLs include an assessment of the current situation and a plan for achieving State standards.
The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board is the state agency responsible for developing TMDLs for water bodies in the eastern Sierra. The Lahontan Regional Board is beginning the TMDL development process for Bridgeport Reservoir, and is asking for public input at this time.
"To get the best possible result, we are interested in obtaining all available and relevant information that may assist us in the TMDL process."
Singer encourages anyone with knowledge of water quality data, watershed conditions, or potential nutrient sources to contact his staff. However, Singer points out that anyone may participate in this process, regardless of his or her level of expertise or knowledge in this area. All comments are welcome, he said.
"Local citizens and other stakeholders with an interest in the Bridgeport Reservoir may have key information and experience that could be very helpful in the TMDL process. We want to obtain and consider all relevant information and work with interested parties throughout the process."
Bridgeport Reservoir is listed under the federal Clean Water Act as impaired due to nutrients and sediment. According to staff of the Lahontan Regional Board, the impairments have led to a buildup of algae that has adversely affected recreational uses and contributed to fish kills. The TMDL process will be designed to determine the sources of nutrients and sediment throughout the watershed, and to develop control strategies to achieve compliance with State water quality standards.
The Lahontan Regional Board is working with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to conduct monthly stream monitoring at selected sites in the Bridgeport Reservoir watershed. The USGS sampling program began in April. The Lahontan Regional Board is also negotiating a contract with scientists from the University of California to conduct studies within the reservoir. Those studies are expected to begin sometime this summer.
The TMDL development process is expected to take at least two years, and the Lahontan Regional Board will hold public workshops and hearings before any final decisions are made.
Please contact Jason Churchill at (530) 542-5571 to provide input or to be added to the Lahontan Regional Board's mailing list for this project.
The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board is part of the California Environmental Protection Agency.