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Volunteers to gauge dirtiness of Tahoe drain pipes

Courtesy League to Save Lake Tahoe

Courtesy League to Save Lake Tahoe

Upcoming Pipe Keepers volunteer meetings

When: 6-7 p.m. Wednesday, March 13

Where: Lake Tahoe Community College Board Room, 1 College Drive, South Lake Tahoe

When: 6-7 p.m. Thursday, March 14

Where: IVGID Public Works, Meeting Room, 1220 Sweetwater Road, Incline Village

LAKE TAHOE — Raising the level of discussion about dozens of storm drain pipes entering Lake Tahoe is one of the goals of a volunteer program recently established by the League to Save Lake Tahoe.

Nine volunteers with the League’s Pipe Keepers program have been monitoring eight outlets since October to determine the cloudiness of the water they carry to the lake.

The goal of the program is to gather information on the water entering the lake through the pipes, as well as foster a dialogue about additional ways to protect Lake Tahoe, said Nicole Gergans, a natural resources manager with the League.

Exactly how many storm drain pipes drain into Lake Tahoe isn’t clear. The League is aware of about 50 of the pipes, but has been unable to locate a comprehensive catalog of the outlets, Gergans said.

Data from the volunteers’ findings are posted on the League’s website and the clarity of the water leaving the pipes varies significantly from site to site. The program hopes to advance discussion about what contributions storm drain pipes make to the lake’s clarity loss, Gergans said.

The League will host two meetings next week to provide additional information.

“The presentation and discussion will focus on storm drain pipes in Tahoe, information learned during this pilot season, and opportunities to become involved,” according to an announcement from the League.

Volunteers should be able to monitor a pipe, or provide a substitute volunteer, during storms, when the pipes are most active, Gergans said.