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SYRCL and the watershed

SYRCL would like to clarify two points for The Union readers. First, SYRCL works to provide facts about our watershed, not speculative assertions. We maintain a state-approved water quality monitoring program involving carefully trained citizens, and beginning earlier this year began working with experts to monitor actual trends and ecological relationships involving algae.

We also work closely with PG&E and NID to ensure that adequate studies of flow, temperature, water quality and algae are included in the process of relicensing hydropower projects.

Second, the upper South Yuba River receives up to 520,000 gallons per day of effluent from the Donner Summit Wastewater Treatment Plant in winter, spring and early summer months, and DSPUD was issued a notice of violation from the California Regional Water Quality Control Board this year for “algal growth below the effluent discharge.”



Although the plant is far above Spaulding Reservoir and our favorite swimming locations on the Wild and Scenic South Yuba River, SYRCL is concerned about the repeated failure of this plant to keep its effluent adequately low in bacteria, ammonia and nitrates. Wastewater discharge into the headwaters is a primary concern among a variety of nutrient sources which can contribute to algal blooms.

Gary Reedy, South Yuba River Citizens League




Nevada City


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