Water control board threatens to fine Truckee businessman


The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board has threatened to impose a $71,000 fine against Edgar Stratton for alleged non-compliance of four cleanup and abatement orders issued since August 1997.

Four orders, issued against the Dependable Tow property on West River Street, have been ignored according to Environmental Specialist Tamerle Lundquist, something she said will not be tolerated any longer.

The notice of non-compliance was issued Dec.1, by Harold Singer, Lahontan executive officer.

“Edgar has been recalcitrant,” Lundquist said. “This has been going on for too long.”

She said the first two orders sent via certified mail were returned to the board office as unclaimed. Because Stratton failed to claim the certified mail, subsequent orders had to be hand delivered to Stratton by Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies she said, adding Stratton has failed to meet every deadline in all the orders and has not made any effort to comply with any of the deadlines in the amended orders.

“He’ll have a chance to plead his case in January,” she said. “It’s pretty bad, especially since the property is within 200 feet of the river.”

Lahontan has scheduled a public hearing during the board’s regular meeting Jan.13-14 in South Lake Tahoe. The board will then have the opportunity to affirm, reject or modify the proposed liability. The $71,000 is the minimum for 142 days of violation.

“We chose the minimum for the fine, but that could change after the hearing,” Lundquist said. “The maximum is $710,000, or $5,000 a day.”

According to Lahontan’s notice of public hearing, Stratton and his representatives would have an opportunity to address and contest the allegations. Written testimony is being requested by Jan. 3 before the 7 p.m. meeting Jan. 13 at the City Council chambers in South Lake Tahoe.

Lundquist said Ken Osburn owned Associated Oil Bulk Terminal on the property, which was the location of a leaking above ground fuel tank, previous to Stratton’s ownership. She said Stratton, who has unsuccessfully run for Truckee town council twice, knew of the contamination upon the purchase of the property.

“We changed the deadlines for Cleanup and Abatement order,” she said. “But he never bothered to comply.”

The order required Stratton to submit a plan describing measures to identify the extent of soil and ground water contamination caused by current and former activities at the site. A ground water monitoring well installed on the property as part of a ongoing commingled plume investigation showed gasoline contamination at up to 1,500 parts per billion. The plume’s threat to the Truckee River, about 200 feet away, is unknown at this time.

Singer said, “We are committed to the protection of water quality in the Truckee River watershed. Ignoring the board’s orders will not be tolerated and will subject responsible parties to fines.”

The Sierra Sun received the notice of public hearing at presstime yesterday. An attempt was made to obtain a comment from Stratton. Because Stratton had not seen the notice, he declined to comment on the actions.

Related documents pertaining to the issue is available and can be copied at Lahontan’s office at 2501 Laek Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe between 8:30 a.m. and noon and 1:30 and 4:30 p.m.

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