Sewer pipe under Gar Woods’ deck cracks | SierraSun.com

Sewer pipe under Gar Woods’ deck cracks

Julie Brown
Sierra Sun

The North Tahoe Public Utility District board approved repairs Monday for a broken sewer line beneath the Gar Woods restaurant deck in Carnelian Bay that is allowing Lake Tahoe water to seep into the pipe.

A significant amount of lake water has leaked into the pipe through one main leak and several smaller fractures, said President Lane Lewis of the utility district’s board of directors.

The pipe is buried under 16 feet of dirt and sand about 50 feet from the lake, said Lewis, and is below the lake level. The district has approved a plan that will allow workers to avoid digging up the restaurant deck, said Lewis.

“We don’t want to disrupt Gar Woods’ business, but we also want to protect the public,” said Lewis.

Workers will begin to apply grout to the damaged sewer section today to prevent more water from leaking into the pipe, said utility board member Sue Daniels.

“The grout will fill out all of the leaks and push out all of the dirt,” said Daniels.

After the grouting is applied, district staff will slide a resin sleeve inside the pipe, creating an inner wall that would extend the life of the pipe another 40 years, said Lewis.

“We have to protect the public against any spill,” he said.

Gar Woods will make a temporary connection to another sewer line in their parking lot so that construction will not disrupt business.

“It should be a win-win for everybody … Gar Woods doesn’t have to give up their deck, we won’t have to dig up their deck,” said Lewis. “It’s the most economical way to fix that line.”

The North Tahoe utility district has put a lot of energy into protecting Lake Tahoe from possible leaks from their sewer lines that run along Lake Tahoe, since a 2005 sewage spill in Kings Beach leaked an estimated 56,000 gallons of effluent into the lake.

The district has purchased and trained on a new set of high-pressure hoses that can be used to bypass a broken section of pipe. That equipment was funded by money provided in a settlement between the contractor who ruptured the pipe in the spill, the lakefront homeowners who contracted for a pier to be built where the accident occurred, the local water board and the North Tahoe Public Utility District.

The district’s board also approved an independent review of how the utility responded to the sewage spill, a process board members hope can improve their response to a future wastewater emergency. The results of that study have not been released.