Health officials open last of closed beaches

KINGS BEACH - North Tahoe Beach here reopened Thursday morning after Placer County health officials reviewed test results Wednesday that showed the beach was safe for public use. The beach had been closed after a July 19 sewage spill.

The only beach that remains closed is an isolated area in front of a handful of private residences located just west of North Tahoe Beach, according to county officials. The area is in the immediate vicinity of the spill and includes a small pond that continues to be contaminated.

The contaminated pond was disinfected last Friday with diluted chlorine, according to Mike Fitch, assistant public information officer for Placer County.

North Tahoe Public Utility District workers are still vacuuming the pond and health officials will continue to test the pond daily, according to Steve Rogers, general manager of the district.

The county noted that the contamination may be partly from water fowl and other wildlife that frequent the pond. Delineators, barricades and posted notices mark the remaining closed area.

On July 29, four public beaches reopened after health officials announced test results showed all of Lake Tahoe's water in the Kings Beach area was safe for recreational use.

The spill occurred July 19 when Tahoe City-based Pacific Built workers building a private pier struck a 14-inch sewer main line that dumped 120,000 gallons of raw sewage into the lake, on the beach and in nearby ponds.

The utility district held a special board meeting Monday morning to discuss the sewage spill and possible litigation from the incident.

"We want to properly prepare ourselves for possible litigation," Rogers said Thursday. "There are no current suits."

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