Inappropriate for area

Guest CommentaryJune 25, 2013 

The Falls Beach is one of the most popular natural recreation areas at Bass Lake. Residents and tourists enjoy both the lake and the creek which falls over a rock slide under the bridge. The fun for families in a natural environment has been going on for generations at Bass Lake.

This natural and beautiful recreation site is now threatened by a proposal to build an industrial water treatment plant on the old parking lot just to the left of the creek above the bridge.

The Bass Lake Water Co. was ordered by the California Department of Public Health to upgrade its water treatment system, both quantitatively and qualitatively, to meet state drinking water safety standards. Although the proposal went through both state CEQA and federal NEPA reviews, no opportunities for public comments were provided for, even though such opportunities are mandated under CEQA regulations.

The water treatment plant would consist of a 4,000 square-foot metal treatment building, one 5,000 gallon raw water tank, one 21,000 gallon finished water tank, one 200 square-foot finished water pump station building, one 200 square-foot raw water pump station building, approximately 1,000 feet of pipelines (500 feet of water lines and 500 feet of waste water lines), generator, propane tank, a 10-stall parking lot, and 750 feet of fencing comprised of a combination of wire, wood and concrete blocks that would be approximately six feet tall around the permitted area.

These facilities can only be considered industrial and are not appropriate in a residential/recreational area. The BLWC has already installed a 10-inch diameter screen water intake pipe down into the recreational area of Willow Creek, where people continue to wade.

Now the U.S. Forest Service has opened the project review again, an unusual maneuver. A very few local residents adjacent to the proposed site have been sent letters on how to comment on this industrial project. I believe the entire mountain community should have the opportunity to comment on protecting our shared environmental resource.

If you would like to see the Falls Beach remain a natural recreation area, please take the time to send your opinions to the U.S. Sierra National Forest ranger. Comments may be submitted to the responsible official, Dean Gould, forest supervisor in c/o Henry Herrera, assistant district lands officer, at the Bass Lake Ranger District: 57003 Road 225, North Fork, CA 93643 — by fax at (559) 877-3108 — by phone at (559) 877-2218 ext. 3111 — or by email at comments-pacificsouthwest-sierra@fs.fd.us.

Public comments must be received by the U.S. Forest Service by July 9, 2013.

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