Illegal dumping discovered on Donner Creek |

Illegal dumping discovered on Donner Creek

Government officials have found trash, car batteries, and motor oil dumped into one of the Truckee River’s tributaries.

The California Department of Fish and Game and Nevada County Environmental Health are investigating illegal dumping in Donner Creek, near the Donner Creek Mobile Home Park on West River Street.

“We found at least one car battery in the river, and lots and lots of trash,” said Game Warden Jerry Karnow. “And as far as hazardous material, we found motor oil ” not a huge amount, but significant.”

Karnow said officials were tipped off by local residents, and investigations are ongoing.

“We still don’t know how it got there, and we can’t pin it to the exact people yet,” Karnow said.

At least one person has been cited so far however, he said.

The illegal dumping poses risks both to people and to wildlife, Karnow said.

“Some of the trash is hazardous if people get swimming or wading get caught up in it,” Karnow said. “And obviously batteries and petroleum is not good ” the big one is aquatic life.”

He said no immediate concerns have been raised over Reno/Sparks water supply, and so far only the California and Nevada County agencies are involved.

The dumping site on Donner Creek is just above its confluence with the Truckee River, he said, so impacts could go for miles downstream.

“We’re in the process of determining what to do next. Hopefully cleanup will be minimal,” Karnow said.

Wesley Nicks, director of Nevada County Environmental Health, said his agency is working with the property owners on a cleanup plan, and penalties will likely depend on how cooperative the property owners are.

“Individual residents could be cited, but typically the landowner is responsible,” he said. “The penalties that could be assessed depend on if the district attorney wants to pursue them.”

In addition to dumping, Karnow said he found a “permanent tent structure” built on the stream bank that could indicate a transient encampment.

Donner Creek Mobile Home Park management declined comment Monday.

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