Central Valley Water Quality Board reaches Clean Water settlement with Kirkwood Mountain Resort

By on December 31, 2017
Clean Water Bill Gets Vote

In winter 2015-16, Kirkwood Mountain Resort allegedly violated the federal Clean Water Act when recycled asphalt pavement grindings from snow removal activities entered drainages that flow into Kirkwood Creek and Kirkwood Meadows. Potential impacts from discharging asphalt grindings into waterways can include smothering aquatic habitat and spawning areas, toxicity to fish eggs and other negative impacts to aquatic life.

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board recently reached a $754,732 settlement agreement with Kirkwood Mountain Resort for the alleged infractions. Nearly half of the penalty amount will be used to fund restoration of the Carson River through portions of the lower Hope Valley in Alpine County.

“We are pleased to reach a settlement with Kirkwood Mountain Resort that restores and protects Kirkwood Creek and the surrounding area,” said Andrew Altevogt, assistant executive officer for the Central Valley Regional Water Board. “This settlement also sends a strong message about the importance of preserving the sensitive water bodies of the Sierra Nevada.”

In early 2106, the Central Valley (CV) Regional Water Board conducted a joint inspection with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to assess the extent of the asphalt grindings’ discharge. Following this inspection, staff from CDFW and the CV Regional Water Board began working with Kirkwood Mountain Resort to fully investigate and clean up the asphalt grindings.

Personnel at Kirkwood have cooperated with the CV Regional Water Board and CDFW and have committed to modifying snow removal procedures and conducting regular inspections to minimize any future discharges of asphalt grindings during snow removal activities. Kirkwood has worked diligently to address the recent and past asphalt grindings discharged at the resort and cleanup work and restoration of additional areas at the resort is ongoing.

The remainder of the penalty assessed Kirkwood Mountain Resort will be paid to the State Water Resource Control Board’s Cleanup and Abatement Account. These funds are used to provide public agencies, including tribal governments and disadvantaged communities, with grants for the cleanup or abatement of pollution conditions when there are no viable responsible parties available to undertake the work. Additionally, CDFW received reimbursement for the costs it incurred during the Kirkwood inspection and to conduct a multi-year biological assessment of Kirkwood Creek.