Nevada County officials have identified a property on the 13000 block of Kilham Mine Road in Nevada City as the possible source of Friday’s South Yuba River plume that moved downstream to Englebright Lake.
“We are thankful for all the community partners who helped us quickly get the word out about river conditions and identify the source of the plume,” said Jeff Pettitt, Office of Emergency Services Manager and Sheriff Captain. “All agencies and organizations worked together to put the public’s safety first and we are grateful for everyone’s quick work.”
After identifying the property by flying upriver with California Highway Patrol early on, officials from the County, Department of Fish and Wildlife and California State Water Resources Control Board made contact with the property owner on Tuesday. The owner has been cooperative, and staff from Nevada County Environmental Health have taken soil and water samples from the property to help complete the investigation.
Andrew Altevogt, Assistant Executive Officer of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, said “We take this incident very seriously and we will continue to work with county authorities to determine what happened and what the impacts were to water quality in the area. Once we’ve gathered the facts, we will determine the appropriate enforcement action to take.”
While on the property, staff also identified numerous code violations. Nevada County Code Compliance is working with the property owner to bring the property into compliance with County regulations.
“We are grateful for the County’s rapid response to our report of the plume on Friday afternoon. Our history of mining makes our watershed especially vulnerable. It’s when, not if, a catastrophic event will occur unless we take needed action and continue restoring our watershed,” said Melinda Booth, South Yuba River Citizen League’s Executive Director.
In addition to the samples taken from the property, Environmental Health will continue sampling this weekend to ensure water is safe for recreational use.
“After the preliminary tests showed dangerously high levels of E.coli at the Highway 49 Bridge of the South Yuba River, we were glad to have received recent results indicating no significant health concern,” said Amy Irani, Nevada County Environmental Health Director.
Since tests at the Highway 49 Bridge on the South Yuba River initially showed dangerous levels of E.coli, please remember to contact your primary care physician if you were in the affected water since Friday and are experiencing vomiting or diarrhea. Nevada County Public Health has notified local health providers about the possibility of E.coli associated with Friday’s plume.
All updates on the plume and Yuba River Advisory can be found at www.MyNevadaCounty.com/YubaRiverAdvisory.
9/24/19 UPDATE: No Swim Advisory lifted for the South Yuba River and Lake Englebright. Most recent water samples came back as safe for recreational use. Cause of the plume is still under environmental review.
The South Yuba River, from below the Town of Washington to Lake Englebright, currently appears to have high level of sediments of unknown origin suspended in the water creating potentially unsafe river conditions for all people and animals. The cause is under investigation, and due to possibly unsafe swimming and recreation conditions, Nevada County Environmental Health has issued a No Swim Advisory for the South Yuba River below Washington to Englebright Lake.
Local officials including Nevada County, South Yuba River Citizen’s League (SYRCL), State Parks, and Nevada County Consolidated Fire District met to discuss current river conditions. Officials from Nevada County Environmental Health went to various South Yuba River locations to take water samples for testing. Full test results will take 3 to 4 days.
With SYRCL’s annual Yuba River Cleanup tomorrow, volunteers are advised to use extra caution to not come into contact with the water and to keep pets away. Some sites may be redirected to alternative areas to protect volunteers from any safety concerns on the South Yuba River. SYRCL’s site leads will be working with volunteers at each of the 35 cleanup locations if redirection to other sites is needed. For questions about SYRCL’s Yuba River Cleanup, please check www.yubariver.org.
For updates, visit www.MyNevadaCounty.com/YubaRiverAdvisory. Individuals can also call 211 Connecting Point by dialing 2-1-1 or calling 1 (844) 319-4119.
Submitted by Taylor Wolfe, Nevada County Executive Office