Lake Tahoe Laundry Works ordered to cleanup tetrachloroethylene plume

By on May 17, 2017

The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board (LRWQCB) issued a Cleanup and Abatement Order last Friday to the Lake Tahoe Laundry Works’ (LTLW) responsible parties to identify and clean up a tetrachloroethylene plume (PCE) the board claims has contaminated groundwater in the South Lake Tahoe region. PCE is commonly used in dry cleaning operations.

PCE is a regulated contaminant in drinking water. It is a manmade chemical also known as perchloroethylene – thus the common acronym PCE. In addition to use in the dry cleaning industry it is also used as a spot remover and as an industrial degreaser. When improperly disposed of it can leach into the groundwater and impact aquifers. PCE can also be inhaled.

PCE can cause adverse health effects. It can cause damage to the central nervous system as well as the liver and kidneys. It can also lead to increased risk of cancer.

The Lahontan Water Board issued the order in response to PCE impacting drinking water wells for two public water systems in the South Lake Tahoe area. LRWQCB staff believe the PCE plume arising from the LTLW site is not fully defined hence the board has issued its order to require the LTLW’s responsible parties to both investigate and determine the complete extent of the PCE groundwater contamination and to cleanup and abate its effects.

“Protecting Lake Tahoe’s pristine drinking water supplies is a top priority for the Lahontan Water Board,” said LRWQCB Executive Director Patty Kouyoumdjian. “So understanding the full extent of this PCE plume is a big step in making sure this chemical doesn’t contaminate more drinking water sources, and that cleanup is done in a timely manner by the responsible parties.”

The Lake Tahoe Laundry Works site was likely the site of a PCE spill during delivery of the chemical. It was a laundry site from the 1970s until 2011 and is now again a laundromat. The site and the responsible parties are Seven Springs Limited Partnership; Fox Capital Management Corporation; Bobby Pages, Inc.; and Connolly Development.