Bijou Erosion Control
Bijou Erosion Control
The Bijou Commercial Core Project is located on the South Shore of Lake Tahoe U.S. Highway 50 in the Bijou Center area. The project primarily addresses the commercial core area, which presents an almost entirely urbanized area with limited water treatment opportunities.
Before the South Shore of Lake Tahoe was developed in the 1900s, Bijou Creek flowed through Bijou meadow and a historic barrier beach/marsh system before discharging into Lake Tahoe. Extensive modifications to the landscape and meadow system have resulted today’s highly urbanized condition, and Bijou Creek is now confined in a pipe underneath U.S. 50 and the Bijou Center. There is no longer an effective marsh and wetland system to provide filtration, and untreated stormwater from the adjacent urban areas flows directly to Lake Tahoe.
Stormwater from a complex area of mixed land ownership currently combines as it flows into the Bijou culvert pipe and into Lake Tahoe. High groundwater and a lack of space for traditional water treatment facilities has constrained the options for addressing pollutants in this area, causing the various property owners to consider a shared water treatment system and advanced treatment technologies. The City of South Lake Tahoe, Caltrans, and several private property owners have identified a unique opportunity to develop a regional stormwater treatment facility to address this challenging situation.
After a thorough analysis of project alternatives and treatment options, the project team selected a pump and treat option as the preferred system for this shared facility. All stormwater currently conveyed to the Bijou culvert pipe will be collected and pretreated in underground storage vaults, and this water will then be pumped to a location uphill in the watershed for infiltration in basins. This unique option was selected due to site-specific constraints and the fact that infiltration is one of the only known mechanisms for effective removal of very fine (<10µm) sediment. Private property owners who contribute stormwater to the system will have the option of buying in to the project, in exchange for their TRPA BMP certificate. This project is one of the first of its kind in the Tahoe area, providing a solution to many landowners’ water quality problems with one shared project.
Preliminary engineering plans are currently being developed, and the environmental analysis is expected for public release in spring of 2011. Project construction is anticipated for 2012/2013.