The Glittering Waters of Lake Tahoe: More Than Meets the Eye

The pristine waters of Lake Tahoe, an emblem of California’s untouched beauty, are under siege. While the South Lake Tahoe Public Utility District proudly speaks of the lake’s purity, a darker tale lurks beneath the surface, and it’s one that demands our attention.

The Hidden Threat: Perchloroethylene (PCE)

For decades, dry cleaners have been the silent culprits, discharging PCE – a carcinogenic chemical – into the environment. In practice, before regulations strengthened, PCE was routinely dumped down drains or on floors, from where it infiltrated the soil and groundwater.
The repercussions? In South Lake Tahoe, PCE levels in groundwater have surged to over 1,000 times the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s health limits. This puts schools, homes, and medical facilities at severe risk, as this contamination can enter the air we breathe.

The Alarming Spread and Long-Term Impact

This isn’t an isolated incident. Across California, PCE pollution has been a ticking time bomb. The state alone houses an estimated 7,500 dry cleaning businesses, of which at least 75% are believed to have caused PCE contamination. This toxic cloud can permeate miles and potentially jeopardize our health.
Exposure to PCE is no joke. It’s linked to cancers, kidney and liver diseases, and other adverse health conditions. Despite the gravity of the situation, California lacks large-scale studies to truly understand PCE’s health impact.

State Intervention: A Drop in the Ocean?

While officials have been aware of PCE pollution since 1989, meaningful progress remains sluggish. The cleanup efforts are daunting, both in terms of scale and cost. Current estimates suggest that dealing with this statewide pollution could cost anywhere between $7.5 billion to a staggering $100 billion.

Our Call to Action

Lake Tahoe’s predicament underscores the urgency of the issue. Pollution from a mere handful of businesses now threatens a renowned natural gem and its surrounding community. If this can happen at Lake Tahoe, it can happen anywhere.
As personal injury attorneys at OnderLaw, we understand the stakes. Clean water isn’t just a basic necessity; it’s a right. We urge regulatory bodies to enhance their efforts, for businesses to be accountable, and for the community to stay informed and vigilant. If you or a loved one have been affected by contaminated water, contact our team today for your free, no-obligation consultation.