Truckee water-quality plans await verdict | SierraSun.com

Truckee water-quality plans await verdict

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

Seth Lightcap/Sierra SunStorm runoff drains from Donner Pass Road onto the shore of Donner Lake during a shower on Monday. The Town of Truckee will review its stormwater management plan Thursday evening.

Spurred by state concerns over storm runoff and water quality, the Town of Truckee is ready to begin rigorous monitoring of Truckee River water quality.

Next, they could use a partner to help pay for the added tests.

Truckee and Placer County are finalizing plans to meet the stricter standards that the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board handed down earlier this year.

The board required the Town of Truckee and Placer County, which oversees a portion of Martis Valley, to create stormwater management programs to deal with runoff and contamination in the Truckee River Watershed.

“There are no earth-shattering revelations; it’s more about education, outreach, and additional enforcement,” said Bob Costa, public works manager for Placer County. “It’s not entirely new; it’s just closer to the approach in the Tahoe Basin.”

Placer County and Truckee worked together on the water plans, and will likely be working together on a water quality monitoring program for the Truckee River Watershed, said Dan Wilkins, director of public works for the Town of Truckee.

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“The biggest deal is Lahontan wants us to implement an aggressive monitoring program throughout the area,” Wilkins said.

Because such an ambitious program could also be costly, one question Truckee will ask is if such other public agencies as Caltrans, the U.S. Forest Service, and California State Parks will be required to chip in, Wilkins said.

“There’s the interstate, highways and other properties in town that the town has no jurisdiction over, and that puts us in a difficult position if we are asked to develop a program for the entire community,” Wilkins said. “Is it expected of our taxpayers, or are we part of a funding mix?”

During the public process, many Truckee residents suggested that Caltrans’ contribution to runoff from Interstate 80, particularly in the Donner Lake area, should be taken into account.

Caltrans has its own stormwater management program, which is currently up for public comment. The proposed Caltrans program can be viewed on at the Lahontan Web site, where comments can be submitted, said Truckee Assistant Engineer Jessica Thompson.

Both Truckee and Placer County must submit their stormwater management programs to Lahontan by Dec. 14, Thompson said.