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  1. In-house Stormwater Inspection Training - Jeremy Sokulsky

    On October 2, 2000 the Tahoe Watershed Unit and other Regional Board staff (totaling 12 persons) attended a half-day in-house Stormwater Inspection Training lead by Lauri Kemper. Dust and stormwater runoff controls were investigated at both the Safeway and Heavenly Valley Gondola construction sites. The training doubled as an inspection to follow up on previous issues at the sites and an opportunity to discuss plans to complete grading and site stabilization prior to the October 15 construction prohibition with project managers. The training concluded with visits to two phases of the Trout Creek Restoration Project guided by the on-site project manager and stream channel designer Matt Kiese. Methods for minimizing the impacts of temporary construction roads over wetlands and bank stabilization and meander design techniques were highlighted.

  2. Colorado Hill Mining District CERCLA Action, Alpine County - Jason Churchill

    The Colorado Hill Mining District in Alpine County encompasses a number of abandoned mine sites and extensive underground mine workings (including the Zaca and Colorado mines). Mine tailings piles are evident at a number of sites and metals-laden acid mine drainage issues from the Zaca Mine adit and other seeps in the area. Several intermittent streams run through the area, including Monitor Creek, a tributary of the East Fork Carson River. Monitor Creek is on the Clean Water Act Section 303(d) list of impaired waterbodies due to metals contamination associated with mining activities. There is no active mining in the area at this time (although there are still some active mining claims) and most land in the area has been acquired by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).

    The USFS has initiated formal action to evaluate and address the mining impacts under the Comprehensive Environmental Response and Liability Act (CERCLA). The USFS is presently completing a problem assessment under CERCLA, and is expected to propose possible corrective actions in the near future. The USFS has identified Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs), i.e., parties that may have legal liability for past mining activities, and may seek to recover from these parties any cleanup costs incurred by the USFS.

    Board staff has been working with the USFS under an agency agreement, and reviewing and commenting on documents pertaining to USFS CERCLA actions in the Colorado Hill Mining District. In addition, I intend to formalize Regional Board's role under this CERCLA action in a letter to the USFS to ensure that the action adequately addresses water quality concerns.

  3. Status of Wetland Restoration Efforts in Mono County - Cindy Wise

    In November 1999, Regional Board staff reported to the Board on the status of wetland restoration efforts in Mono County. As part of that agenda item, staff presented estimates of the amount of wetland impact that has resulted from the construction of single family homes, and the amount of wetland restoration that has occurred in Mono County. To establish a mechanism to formally track wetlands impacts and wetland restoration, as well as to identify potential restoration sites and pursue restoration at those sites, the Mono County Collaborative Planning Team Wetlands Technical Advisory Committee (Wetlands TAC) has recently re-instated its regular meetings. Over the next several months, the Wetlands TAC will prepare and submit a proposal for grant funding under Proposition 13 -- Safe Drinking Water, Clean Water, Watershed Protection and Flood Protection Act. This proposal will request funds to develop a watershed plan that addresses wetland conditions and potential impacts, will establish goals for restoration, and develop a formal means to track amounts of both impacts and restoration. It will also include an implementation plan. A watershed plan is an important 'next step' in the County's ability to pursue further restoration, as many fund sources for the acquisition and restoration of wetlands require that a watershed plan be in place. Because the establishment of a land trust or conservancy is a likely and desired future step needed to manage restored wetlands, the Wetlands TAC has scheduled a series of experts to present information on establishing land trusts. If feasible, the grant proposal will also include a request for funding to develop the foundation of a Mono County land trust.

  4. Toxic Substance Monitoring Program - José Alarcón

    On October 5 staff assisted retired Fish & Game Biologist Jack Linn to collect fish to be analyzed for the Toxic Substance Monitoring Program (TSMP). The TSMP is a statewide annual monitoring program that was initiated in 1976 by the State Water Resources Control Board in cooperation with the Regional Water Boards. The Department of Fish & Game (DFG) has carried out the statewide TSMP since its inception by collecting fish from watersheds throughout California and analyzing samples for a host of toxic and bioaccumulated materials.
    Field sampling occurred in the Walker River watershed, with sample locations on Clearwater Creek, Aurora Creek, Poison Creek, and the Little Walker River as part of the TSMP. In order to collect the trout, they were temporarily stunned by electroshocking, then netted. Trout were found at all sample locations except Aurora Creek, which had a small flow and may possibly not sustain fish during low flow conditions. The other three sample locations yielded brown, brook, and rainbow trout. All trout were measured and the coordinates from each sample location were determined using a global positioning system and recorded for future reference. The trout were stored in a cooler for delivery to DFG's laboratory in Rancho Cordova. There, DFG chemists will extract metals and/or organic chemicals that may be stored in the trout's liver and fatty tissues and measure these concentrations. This method is more reliable than collecting and analyzing water samples for determining the presence of toxic substances, since fish bioconcentrate toxic substances making them easier to detect. The State Board and the Regional Water Boards will use these results to identify if there are any unusually high concentrations that would require follow-up sampling and/or field visits to determine potential pollutant sources.

  5. Lake Tahoe Watershed Unit Variances Abigail O'Keefe - Student Assistant

    Prior to October 15 of each year, Dischargers in the Lake Tahoe Basin are required to provide permanent or temporary (if project is incomplete) stabilization of all disturbed or eroding areas. No soil disturbance may occur after October 15 unless authorization is given by TRPA or the Regional Board.

    The following projects have been granted variances to the October 15 grading deadline by the Lake Tahoe Watershed Unit.

    Caltrans District 3 has been granted variances for four projects.
    State Route 89 Snow Storage Area Maintenance Crew Work Project
    Additional work proposed consists of stabilization of shoulder drainage at Luther Pass Road, excavation and placement of rock lining in the basin to capture road sand. Grading of snow storage area on Barbara Avenue and the removal of existing sand from snow storage area is needed.
    Highway 50 Meyers Erosion Control Project
    Potholes for utilities are needed between Post Miles 71.5 and 73.7 . Only one pothole will be open at a time to reduce the amount of exposed soil.
    Highway 50 Rock Scaling Project
    Proposed work includes the blasting of large, isolated boulders protruding from the face of the slope and hand scaling smaller loose rocks off the face of the slope.
    Emerald Bay State Route 89 Guard Rail Project
    The installation of shoulder backing and removal of excess shoulder backing behind the guardrail along SR 89 is needed between Inspiration Point and Cascade Creek.

    South Tahoe Public Utility District has been granted variances for three projects.
    Gardner Mountain Well Project
    The installation of an electrical conduit within the existing parking area, final grading and paving, the installation of parking ballards, and the seeding and mulching of disturbed areas is needed.
    A-Line Replacement Project
    Installation of a cathodic protection test station at Barbara and Martin Avenues, paving of the area by the Upper Truckee pump station on Meadowcrest Drive, the drilling of a 100 foot deep anode well on the west side of Meadowcrest Drive, completion of the tie-in to the existing export line and surge tank, and excavation, installation, and backfill of 50 feet of ductile iron pipe on the east side of Meadowcrest Drive.
    Wintoon Tank Restoration Project
    Removal of the foundation and the completion of site restoration which includes tilling, placement of seed, amendment, and mulch is needed.

    The US Forest Service has been granted variances for one project.
    Heavenly Gondola Project
    Erosion control will be completed including the construction of three sediment basins and the winterization of the temporary road to the mid-station.

    Placer County has been granted variances for two projects.
    Agate Road ECP Phase III
    The excavation of a trench and the installation of a box culvert under SR28 will be completed as well as the connecting of the box culvert to drop inlets next to the highway.
    Snow Creek Stream and Wetland Restoration Project
    BMPs need to be installed in addition to flushing of the outlets in the culverts, formation and placement of concrete walls for culverts, box culvert installation and the removal of spoil piles and stabilization of disturbed areas. Additional channel work between SR 28 and Lake Tahoe is being done to provide conveyance of design flows.

    The City of South Lake Tahoe has been granted variances for two projects.
    Trout Creek Stream Restoration Project
    The removal of haul roads is still needed as well as the revegetation of disturbed areas.
    Dry Well Maintenance
    Several dry wells at various locations within the city limits need to be replaced.

    The California Tahoe Conservancy has been granted a variance for one project.
    Carnelian Bay Lake Access and Resource Enhancement Project Phase III
    The excavation of sidewalk areas and the formation and pouring of curbs is to be completed.

    North Tahoe Public Utilities District had been granted a variance for one project.
    Park and Bend Water Main Replacement Project
    Excavation is needed to tie into the existing main and abandon the old main, which is located on Park Avenue. In addition, all existing house services will be connected to the new line, AC overlay placement or slurry seal on Park and Bend Avenues will be completed, and the stabilization of all disturbed areas will be done.

    Safeway, Incorporated has been granted a variance for one project.
    Safeway Bijou Replacement Store Project
    An onsite storm water basin is to be constructed and the excavated material will be used for shoulder backing for the new onsite sidewalks. Seeding the basin and stabilization with jute netting will be completed as well as mulching of other disturbed areas.

    El Dorado County Department of Transportation has been granted a variance to one project.
    Pioneer Trail EC Biolog Installation Project
    Sod and soil will be removed to install biologs anchored with willow stakes and the daily replacement of excavated sod will occur to leave no exposed soil. Willow staking must be done this fall to ensure growth and stability prior to construction next summer.

  6. Road Abrasives, Tahoe Basin - Bruce Warden

    At the October 20, 2000 Lahontan Regional Board meeting, public citizen E. J. Belding, a local civil engineer, spoke at the public forum regarding sand use in the Tahoe Basin. He shared a sample of road abrasive material (coarse sand) contaminated with fine particles. He encouraged the Board to take action to reduce sand use and improve existing sand quality (less fine particulate content). Regional Board staff contacted Mr. Belding and found out that E. J. collected the sample at the Caltrans Tahoe City maintenance yard from the back of a sanding truck. Regional Board staff has requested information from Caltrans regarding the source of the material and whether it was tested to meet Caltrans specifications.

    Recent history of Caltrans sand and salt operations in the Tahoe Basin: A Regional Board monitoring study of Caltrans slushing operations during the winter of 1998/99 showed significant violations of Basin Plan water quality effluent limitations and objectives as a result of this practice (the practice consisted of spreading sediment and salt laden road snow across all lanes of the highway during warm weather, resulting in rapid and massive release of these pollutants into Lake Tahoe tributaries). Based on our Notice of Violation, good press, and Governor Davis' directive, the practice of slushing has been prohibited in the Tahoe Basin. Though slushing ceased and there were significant reductions in sediment and nutrient loading during the subsequent 1999/00 winter traction control season, there were still violations of effluent limitations from highway runoff. Staff sampled twice last season in response to citizen complaints. Samples exceeded effluent limitation values by approximately one to two orders of magnitude. The Executive Officer issued mandatory minimum penalty complaints for the violations and later withdrew the complaints because of ambiguous compliance schedule language in the Caltrans general stormwater permit. Staff is currently preparing revised draft permit language for State Board consideration.

    Caltrans Deicer Report, FY 1999/00 - Caltrans released their FY 1999/00 annual "Deicer Report" on October 13, 2000. The report contains information on winter of 1999-2000 road sand and salt use in the Tahoe Basin, BMP effectiveness, historic sand and salt use, recapture rates of sand, impacts on surface waters, Capital Improvement Program (CIP) activities, snow and ice control procedures, water quality sampling and analysis and traction sand sampling analysis. The statewide general permit requires Caltrans to deliver this annual report.
    Regional Board staff are preparing a detailed response to Caltrans concerning road sand and salt management, implications for water quality in Lake Tahoe, and our expectations of Caltrans for further information and more importantly, our expectations of Caltrans for improvements in winter stormwater runoff water quality this season. Quality of sand will be emphasized in our assessment of this report.

    Significant Findings and Comments on the Report: Caltrans is reducing the sand and salt applied within the Tahoe Basin, and is increasing the amount of traction sand recapture. FY 1999/00 sand and salt applied in the Tahoe Basin was 12,666 and 863 tons, respectively. Caltrans recovered 7,741 tons and reported that as recovered traction sand. Caltrans is assessing the quality of different traction sand sources. Sixteen sources of sand were assessed for sieve analysis, durability, volatile solids, iron, nitrate, nitrite, total P, and total reactive P. The samples were highly variable in sediment and phosphorus content, ranging from 12 to 2 percent fines and 3930 to 1.43 ppm total P. Six of the samples analyzed would contribute significant amounts of P estimated loading to Lake Tahoe ranging from 8-50% of the total P load (if all fines were transported to Lake Tahoe). The remaining 10 samples would provide only about 0.02-0.06% of total P loading. Caltrans currently uses sand specifications of 0-5% passing a #200 sieve (silt and clay fractions) and durability of 55 minimum. They have no specification for nutrient (e.g. nitrogen and phosphorus) content.

    Based on the best available scientific information from the Lake Tahoe Watershed Assessment report (2000), Regional Board staff assessed the significance of sediment and nutrient loading from Caltrans sand use. Total average loading of sediments to Lake Tahoe is estimated at 11,300 metric tons. Estimated loading of fines from 1999/00 Caltrans sand assuming 5% fines (the current Caltrans specification) and complete transport (of only fines) into surface waters is 574 metric tons or a little over 5% of the total sediment loading into Lake Tahoe-a significant amount which could be readily controlled by selection of sand to minimize fines content. This figure does not include grinding of sand into finer more mobile particles by tires and blades or information on capture of fines by Caltrans maintenance activities or trapping of fines on adjacent land.

    Caltrans has not provided actual FY 1999/00 use information about the source of sand or the amount by source. This information is necessary to more accurately estimate sediment and nutrient loading into Lake Tahoe. Regional Board staff is requesting this information from Caltrans. This information is required by permit and was not submitted in this year's deicer report.

    Caltrans is assessing the use of saturated salt brine to reduce sand usage; similar to what Nevada Department of Transportation is doing. Caltrans is using road temperature data to refine timing of sand and salt applications.

    Regional Board staff will continue to work with Caltrans, Nevada and local road departments to reduce water quality impacts from snow and ice control management. Staff plans to provide at least annual updates to the Regional Board on this matter.

  7. County Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, Lancaster Water Reclamation Plant Permitting Issues Status - Ted Saari

    On August 29, 2000 Board staff met with representatives of the County of Los Angeles Sanitation District (LACSD) concerning the remaining permitting issues at the LACSD No.14; Lancaster Water Reclamation Plant. The remaining issues include:
    1. Paiute Ponds overflow elimination (schedule and implementation);
    2. Basin Plan Amendments to revise the Beneficial Uses;
    3. Long-term issues
      1. Determine elements of waste discharge requirements (WDRs) revision;
      2. Interim effluent limits and a time schedule for chlorine and ammonia toxicity;
      3. Data collection needs to develop site specific objectives for ammonia; and
      4. Continued data collection for the California Toxics Rule Implementation.

    Board staff intends to prepare a Basin Plan amendment, Revised WDRs, and a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) to address the overflow from Paiute Ponds. Rescission of the existing CDO for previous collection system overflows may also be proposed in the near future.

  8. IMC Chemicals Inc. (IMCC) - Wildlife Protection Measures at Searles Lake - Greg Cash

    Board staff issued a letter requesting IMCC to complete a netting project over the exposed effluent channels and other appropriate wildlife protection measures over the dredge and percolation ponds. This "netting" project should be completed by November 1, 2000. IMCC is conducting a 24-hour "human-hazing" during the netting project. This "human-hazing" consists of noise cannons, motor boats, and Mylar ribbons to deter waterfowl landing on Searles Lake. The fall migration of waterfowl is occurring at Searles Lake at this time, and IMCC is assisting the California Department of Fish and Game's (DFG) Oily Wildlife Unit to capture any impacted waterfowl on Searles Lake for veterinary care.

  9. Waste Management Inc., Petroleum Contaminated Soil Disposal at the Antelope Valley Landfill - Greg Cash

    This is a follow-up to an EO report in June 2000.

    Board staff has reviewed information regarding the petroleum-contaminated soil, and has concluded that the petroleum-contaminated soil is non-hazardous and is acceptable for disposal at the Antelope Valley Landfill. I have asked Waste Management Inc. to amend its waste acceptance program to ensure material disposed of at the landfill is non-hazardous and non-designated. Specific testing and reporting will be required prior to shipping the material to the landfills. The material in question is from the Alameda Corridor Railway Relocation Project in Los Angeles County. This material is being used as daily soil cover.

  10. Caltrans Rush Creek Four-Lane Project, Walker Creek Diversion - Doug Feay

    On May 1, 2000 Caltrans began construction of a four-lane project on Highway 395 south of Lee Vining. The project involves approximately 11 miles of Highway 395 and crosses four creeks. As part of the project, Rush Creek, Parker Creek, Walker Creek and Lee Vining Creek have been diverted into temporary diversion pipes to accommodate construction of overpasses. On August 17, 2000 Regional Board staff issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to Caltrans for water quality violations at Rush Creek and Lee Vining Creek. As part of the NOV Board staff requested Caltrans to submit individual site specific plans prior to any creek diversion activity for any of the four creeks. Water sampling must also take place during work involving any of the four creeks.

    On October 5, 2000, Caltrans diverted Walker Creek into the new box structure constructed for the new portion of the highway. The diversion plan for Walker Creek was submitted to Board staff for our approval prior to the actual diversion. Board staff was present during the diversion. Caltrans personnel sampled Walker Creek before, during, and after the implementation of the diversion. Water re-introduced was controlled to maintain low flows and sediment was allowed to settle prior to exiting the concrete box. There were no significant impacts to water quality during the re-introduction process.

  11. Haiwee Reservoir, Copper Sulfate Treatment - Doug Feay

    The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) treated Haiwee Reservoir with Copper Sulfate for algae control last September. Haiwee Reservoir is located in the southern portion of Inyo County between Ridgecrest and Lone Pine. Board staff was present during the treatment. Copper Sulfate crystals (4,750 lbs) were introduced into the southern Haiwee Reservoir using an aircraft. The Copper Sulfate treatment penetrates to a depth of ten-feet below the surface. Copper Sulfate dissipates into free copper and bound copper. The free copper dissipates within two days to a non-measurable level. Bound copper is held in the sediments and can accumulate over time. LADWP has been treating Haiwee Reservoir for about 30 years. Board staff has requested and provided oversight of bio monitoring being conducted by LADWP. Contingent on EPA funding, Staff will be working on a TMDL for Copper in the reservoir in the near future.

  12. Mono Lake Tour - Cindi Mitton

    On October 2 and 3, 2000 the State Water Resources Control Board toured sites in the Mono Lake Basin. Sites included the Mono Lake shoreline and tufa towers, diversion facilities for the Los Angeles aqueduct system, and restoration areas such as along Rush Creek. A Lahontan Regional Board member and two staff, as well as public and interested agencies also attended the tour. The tour was informative and demonstrated the effects of the State Board's water rights decisions regarding increasing lake levels of Mono Lake and restoring streams that feed the lake. A representative of the Mono Lake Committee presented the first Annual State of the Lake report. The report and information presented by State Board staff indicate that the lake level is recovering faster than some models predicted. The rate of lake level increase is dependent on weather patterns, which were normal to slightly under normal last year. Restoration activities preliminarily are showing signs of success.

  13. Presentation to Mojave Water Agency - Tim Post

    On October 4, 2000 Mike Plaziak and Tim Post gave a presentation to the Mojave Water Agency's Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) on several projects of interest to the TAC. Mike presented a summary of the recent well investigation at the Meadowbrook Dairy, nitrate sampling in the El Mirage Area, and some preliminary results from the Mojave River Sampling Program. Tim summarized the present status of the cleanup at George Air Force Base, the proposed High Desert Power Project, and the implementation of the Phase II National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Storm Water Regulations. The information presented by Board staff was well received.

  14. George Air Force Base Redevelopment/Property Transfer - Tim Post

    The Air Force Base Conversion Agency (AFBCA) at the former George Air Force Base (Base) recently submitted Findings of Suitability for Transfer (FOST) for two large parcels on the southwest and southern portions of the Base. The two parcel's total size is nearly 775 acres. What makes these FOSTs unique is the proposal to transfer the properties to the Local Reuse Agency (LRA) but retain control of several, very small (two to four acre), areas that are still contaminated. The AFBCA, U.S. EPA, and Regional Board staff have agreed that when these contaminated sites are either cleaned up, or have a remedial system in place that is operating properly and successfully, they too can then be transferred to the LRA.

  15. Bishop Paiute-Shoshone Tribe Water Quality Program - Joe Kenny

    The Bishop Paiute-Shoshone Native American Tribal organization has applied to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the jurisdictional right to set their own water quality standards for waters within the 875-acre reservation located at Bishop. EPA is presently reviewing the Tribe's application for program authority. Following the EPA determination that the Tribe has adequately demonstrated authority to regulate water quality on the Reservation, the Tribe will propose water quality standards in accordance with the Federal Clean Water Act Section 303 program.
    Board staff has coordinated with the Tribe's environmental office regarding the water quality objectives contained in the Lahontan Basin Plan. The Tribe intends to set water quality objectives consistent with the beneficial uses listed in the Lahontan Region's Basin Plan. A representative of the Tribe appeared at the public forum of the Board's June meeting in Bishop and gave a briefing on this topic. The Paiute-Shoshone Tribe is a federally recognized tribal government with technical staff that will administer this water quality program.

    Regional Board Staff will continue to coordinate with the Tribe's environmental office regarding this issue

  16. Class V Injection Wells - Tim Post

    Class V injections wells (often called "shallow disposal wells") are typically shallow disposal systems used to place a variety of fluids below the ground surface. To protect underground sources of drinking water, these wells are regulated by the U.S. EPA's Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program. U.S. EPA has delegated UIC regulatory authority to several states but not California. Therefore, U.S. EPA is directly responsible for regulating Class V wells in California under authority of Part C of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Class V shallow injection wells are "authorized by rule" (40 CFR 144) which means they don't require a permit if they do not endanger drinking water and comply with other UIC requirements. 40 CFR 144.85, effective November 7, 1999, placed new restrictions on large capacity cesspools connected to injection wells and prohibited motor vehicle waste disposal injection wells. U.S. EPA admits they don't have enough resources assigned to the UIC program in California to properly regulate these wells leaving the Regional Boards to regulate injection wells that do pose a threat to water quality under the State Water Code.

    Within the Lahontan Region, several municipalities are using dry-well systems for residential stormwater and nuisance water runoff collection and disposal. Currently, Lancaster and Palmdale require large-tract homebuilders to construct one new interceptor (a concrete collection device that is pumped out on a routine basis by the city) per 40 homes constructed. Victorville and Apple Valley plan to install 16 new seepage-pit-type disposal systems (Class V two-stage injection wells) for residential, nuisance water disposal. These interceptor/injection wells in the Region range from 15 feet to 75 feet below ground surface depending on depth to ground water.

    Currently, other municipalities greater than 10,000 population are gathering data under the Stormwater Phase II regulations, which require establishing effluent limits for stormwater, nuisance runoff and other categories of runoff. Under the Phase II Stormwater program, the Lahontan Region will be required to issue stormwater permits for eight cities and associated military installations. These cities are: Ridgecrest, Lancaster, Palmdale, Apple Valley, Adelanto, Victorville, Hesperia, Edwards AFB, Ft Irwin, Yermo Logistic Center, and Naval Weapons Center-China Lake. Stormwater Phase II permits are scheduled to be in place by March 2003.

    Lahontan Board staff is currently working with the cities of Lancaster, Palmdale, Victorville, and Apple Valley in evaluating their current dry wells' compliance with 40 CFR 144-146 and defining their monitoring and reporting criteria and other information necessary for incorporation into Phase II Reports of Waste Discharge. Future (and existing) systems will be operated and maintained under Phase II permits that incorporate U.S. EPA's best management practices the Regional Board's water quality protection standards.