KINGS BEACH, Calif. - A sewage spill forced the closure Tuesday of five beaches on the north shore of Lake Tahoe around Kings Beach and local officials said they didn't know when they would reopen.
The spill occurred Tuesday afternoon when a contractor mistakenly hit a 14-inch sewer mainline near the North Tahoe Beach Center in Kings Beach, officials for the North Tahoe Public Utility District said.
Utility officials ordered the closure of five beaches - Kings Beach State Recreation Area, Coon Street Boat Launch, North Tahoe Beach Center, Secline Beach and the public beach behind Steamers Beach Side Bar and Oven.
Private beaches between the public beaches also were closed. All of the closed areas are off State Highway 28.
The closures did not affect beaches to the west at Tahoe City - including Commons Beach and Skylandia Park and Beach - or to the southeast in Nevada at Incline Village and Sand Habor.
Steve Rogers, the utility district's general manager, said the experts will be taking water quality samples to ensure the water is safe. He said it's not possible to predict when the beaches will reopen.
"Our emergency personnel are already mitigating the sewer spill. Our immediate concern is the safety of our public," Rogers said Tuesday evening.
District staff have been canvassing the beaches and alerting beach goers - as well as motel and lakefront home owners in the area - about the situation, he said.
"People who have been in the water at these beaches should wash thoroughly. Those with immune system problems may want to consult a medical professional or Placer County Health and Human Services," he said.
Additional information is available by telephoning the utility district at 530-546-4212 or at www.ntpud.org.