Donner Lake watercraft policy back on town council agenda tonight | SierraSun.com
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Donner Lake watercraft policy back on town council agenda tonight

JOHN A. BAYLESS, Sierra Sun

Truckee Town Council will once again consider adoption of a Donner Lake watercraft policy tonight paralleling the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s law, with an activation trigger based on water quality tests from Donner Lake.

The trigger is pulled if the town receives written notice from either Del Oro Water Co. or the State Department of Health Services that the water supply exceeds the state minimum standards.

Although this ordinance is almost identical to the one earlier considered by council, it is no longer being considered on an urgency basis.

“It has been modified from its original; urgency format for two reasons,” Town Manager Steve Wright wrote in his report to council. “Water quality measurements to date have been below the trigger threshold and State Boating and Waterways suggests the normal adoption process.”

Del Oro Water Co. measured MTBE gasoline additive concentrations of only 4.29 parts per billion following the Fourth of July weekend – far below the 13 ppb level which constitutes a threat to public safety.

“No other traces of elements tested for were detectable,” Wright said.

The ordinance also includes an exemption for the concessionaire who rents watercraft on Donner Lake. If MTBE is found to be the only element contaminating the lake, then he would be exempt from any watercraft ban as long as his craft use MTBE-free fuel.

The town ordinance also includes a provision for a 100-foot no boating radius around the water intake of the Del Oro Water Company water intake. It includes an exemption for motorized craft accessing docks, piers or shoreline, where access is otherwise permitted by shoreline property owners.

If the ordinance goes into effect, the launching or mooring of all two-stroke watercraft on Donner Lake will be prohibited, except:

– Any two-stroke engine powered watercraft whose fuel is directly injected into the cylinder.

– Any watercraft powered by a two-stroke engine whose fuel is injected into the crankcase, purchased before Jan. 27, 1999 shall be prohibited commencing Oct. 1, 2001.

– Any watercraft powered by a two-stroke engine whose engine is certified as meeting the U.S. EPA 2006 standard or the the CARB 2001 standard shall be exempt from the prohibition.

– Sailboats utilizing a two-stroke engine as auxiliary power shall be prohibited commencing Oct. 1, 2001.

– Any watercraft powered by a two-stroke engine rated at 10 horsepower or less shall be prohibited commencing Oct. 1, 1999.

– Any watercraft powered by an engine that has been certified as meeting EPA’s 2001-2005 emission standard shall be prohibited commencing Oct. 1, 2001.

The ordinance will only take effect if water quality tests by Del Oro Water Co. reveal that the water going into the company’s intake is not suitable to drink.

If it is triggered, it will remain in effect until Oct. 15 of the year it is enacted. If a subsequent water test still shows the water quality is bad, it will remain in effect until Dec. 31. The ordinance would remain on the books and take effect if minimum state drinking water standards are not maintained.

In other business, the council will:

– Consider authorization to advertise the Tahoe Donner overlay project for bids.

– Consider adoption of particulate matter air quality management plan.

– Consider award of overlay contract for West End of Donner Lake and overlay work on Jeffrey Pine Road in the amount of $473,481.27.

– Consider notification of Developers Insurance Co. that Wolfe Estates development agreement with the Town of Truckee has lapsed, and request that Developers Insurance Co. take responsible charge of implementing improvements identified in the agreement.


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