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EPA gives Lake County $433,000 for Clear Lake restoration

Release Date: 10/14/2003
Contact Information: Laura Gentile, Press Office, 415/947-4227

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded $433,000 to the Lake County Sanitation District in Lakeport, Calif. to help restore Clear Lake by converting a source of water pollution to a source of clean energy.

Clear Lake, one of the biggest and possibly the oldest natural lake in the West, has had long-term problems with chronic algae blooms and toxic runoff. Wastewater plants near the shoreline lack the capacity to handle additional flows from stormwater runoff entering the systems during rainy seasons, forcing discharges of treated wastewater into the lake. Also the site of an old mercury mine that operated for years close to the water's edge, Clear Lake has been the site of an EPA Superfund cleanup since 1990.

The project involves constructing a 24-mile pipeline linking two wastewater plants in Lakeport and Kelseyville to a nearby geothermal injection system in Middletown. Treated wastewater will be injected onto boiling-hot rocks deep underground, producing steam that can be used to drive electric turbines.

"We're pleased to fund this project and continue our efforts to restore Clear Lake," said Alexis Strauss, director of EPA's Water Division.

"Restoring Clear Lake to a more pristine condition is an important step for the community," said Congressman Mike Thompson (D - Lake County). "Properly treating wastewater and turning discharged pollutants into a viable energy source will save on energy costs."