PacBell will remove around eight miles of lead-encased phone cables from Lake Tahoe.
The out-of-commission cables are seeping lead into the water that exceeds regulations. PacBell agreed to a no-fault settlement where the company will pay one-point-five-million dollars to remove the cables and pay the legal fees of the plaintiffs. The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance filed a complaint this January against Pacific Bell Telephone Co., arguing that the presence of PacBell submarine telephone lines on the west side of Lake Tahoe violates federal and state environmental rules.
“Local divers discovered the abandoned cables years ago while removing other trash from the lake bottom, and the non-profit California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) brought suit under federal law and California’s Proposition 65,” another California-based nonprofit, the Center for Environmental Health, said in a Wednesday news release. The PacBell telephone cables contain copper transmission wires, shielded by lead sheathing. The Center for Environmental Health claimed the two cables contain 63 tons of lead, which the group alleged had been leaching into Lake Tahoe at rates far above legal limits, according to The Sacramento Bee.