TAHOE CITY - The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board has proposed a $700,000 penalty for the 120,000-gallon spill that sent raw sewage into Lake Tahoe in July and crippled North Shore tourism for weeks.
The fine could have been as high as $1.2 million, for the two property owners involved and the contractor they hired to build a pier in Kings Beach, according to a release from the board.
The Administrative Civil Liability complaint is for the untreated sewage that erupted from under the Tahoe lake bed when the contractor's pile driver punched a hole in a buried sewer pipe just offshore from Kings Beach.
The spill occurred on July 19, when Pacific Built punctured a 14-inch sewer force main owned by the North Tahoe Public Utility District while driving a pile for a pier support.
Pressurized sewage spewed into Lake Tahoe for about five hours, but much of it was trapped and returned to the sewer system, according to the water quality control board.
North Tahoe beaches had to be closed for 10 to 16 days.