Lake Tahoe BMPs

Tahoe Adsorptive Media, 2002 - 2005

Collaborating Organizations 

Bachand & Associates and UC Davis Tahoe Research Group

Funding Organization

Placer County, CA and California Tahoe Conservancy, South Lake Tahoe, CA

Project Summary

Anthropogenic changes in the Tahoe Basin have increased nutrient and particle loading and led to eutrophication and clarity reduction at Lake Tahoe.  Best management practices (BMPs), including stormwater basins and treatment wetlands, were implemented to reduce nutrient and particle loads.  The primary objective of this project was to investigate whether adsorptive media will improve the ability of these BMPs to remove phosphorus (P), the limiting nutrient at Lake Tahoe.  

Dr. Philip Bachand of Bachand & Associates was the lead principal investigator and project manager for this project, working in partnership with UC Davis and the Tahoe Research Group [1].  Bachand & Associates reviewed literature on potential substrates to improve phosphorus removal and assessed their potential efficacies using a combination of isotherm and column studies.  Promising media were then evaluated in laboratory isotherm studies and field column studies to understand P uptake characteristics in simulated and real stormwater treatment applications. Tahoe soils were found to have relatively poor phosphorus uptake capacity, so stormwater treatment basins appear to have improved performance when utilizing the more promising adsorptive media. 

[1] The Tahoe Research Group was integrated into the Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC). 


Bachand, P.A.M.  and A. Heyvaert.  2005.  Adsorptive Media Investigations and Testing for Improved Performance of Stormwater Treatment Systems in the Tahoe Basin.  Final report submitted to Placer County Department of Public Works and The California Lake Tahoe Conservancy.  Publicly Available on ResearchGate, Published: 2005. 

Bachand, P.A.M.  Literature Review:  Potential Application of Adsorptive Media to Enhance Phosphorus Uptake in Stormwater Basins and Wetlands at Lake Tahoe, Final Revision.  Final report submitted to the University of California Davis Tahoe Research Group in fulfillment of Deliverable 1a of Contract No. 02-00700ICR.  Available on ResearchGate, Published: 2003.