Truckee, Placer County target stormwater | SierraSun.com

Truckee, Placer County target stormwater

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun
Emma Garrard/Sierra Sun file photoWater runs into Donner Lake from a storm drain during a warm spring thaw. Truckee and Placer County have teamed up to create new storm runoff policies.
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Steep mountain slopes, new construction regularly breaking ground, spring melt and the occasional cloudburst all add up to big erosion potential in the Truckee-Martis area.

Add in the Truckee River, a federally designated U.S. Waterway, and the monitoring and controlling of storm runoff becomes high priority for public officials.

Over the last year, the Town of Truckee and Placer County have collaborated to create two Storm Water Management Programs at the direction of the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board.

“We want to make sure only clean water goes into storm drains,” said Mary Keller, Placer County’s storm water program coordinator. “A lot of people don’t know that stormwater doesn’t go to a sewer plan, it goes straight into the creeks.”

Keller said her mission requires educating the public on what to avoid putting into storm drains, how to maintain their homes, and teaching builders how to keep runoff under control during and after construction.

Building design, drainage design and project layout are all considered in managing stormwater, said Jessica Thompson, Truckee’s assistant engineer.

“Keeping stormwater out of trash enclosures is one example; we don’t want the water leaching out whatever is in the trash and taking that into our streams,” Thompson said.

As part of the coordinated effort, the town and county will create a new Web site and hotline for people to report the illicit discharge of harmful substances, she said.

Placer County and Truckee will also develop a plan to monitor the water quality in the Truckee River watershed by July 1, Thompson said.

The Tahoe Basin already has a similar, but more stringent plan in place, Keller said.

Now that the two jurisdictions are close to submitting their programs to the Lahontan board, the town and county are looking to put together an advisory committee from a broad scope of people.

Town staff is recommending the committee include members from the Truckee River Watershed Council, other government agencies, the Contractors Association of Truckee-Tahoe, and a person representing the general public, among others, according to staff reports.

“The committee will help with getting the word out, and add ideas on how to implement the plan,” said Mary Keller, Placer County’s stormwater program coordinator.