Our View: The blame game is a stinky one to play | SierraSun.com

Our View: The blame game is a stinky one to play

There’s enough blame to go around the North Shore for everybody regarding last year’s sewage spill, but who should pay?

The $700,000 penalty faced by the two property owners who were having a pier built when construction crews punctured a sewer line is now down to about half that. Still on the hook as well is the contractor, Tahoe City-based Pacific Built Inc.

The $325,000 fine, however, is still only a recommendation from the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board’s staff. We won’t know until July who will pay or exactly how much.

Just as the water board’s experts over-estimated how much sewage actually flowed into Lake Tahoe ” first estimates were 120,000 gallons, now adjusted to 56,000 ” figuring out just how much to fine those culpable is anything but an exact science.

The homeowners blame the title companies for not noting the location of the sewer line, the construction company blames the North Tahoe Public Utility District for not alerting contractors about the pipeline. Lahontan staffers say the contractor should have called the underground utility hotline before driving the pier piles.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency just wants someone to pay. That’s understandable, because allowing such a gross defilement of Lake Tahoe to go unpunished ” or go with only a slap on the wrist ” would counter everything the agency has worked toward for 37 years.

Yes, there is a lot at stake for everybody involved, including the contractor and the shoreline homeowners, who, frankly, were working for their own benefits.

But there is a larger affected party: the public. The Lahontan board must keep them in mind when making its decision.

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