Pipe Keepers

Pipe Keepers

Protect Lake Tahoe from stormwater pollution. Join Pipe Keepers.

Pipe Keepers is the League’s citizen science program to address the leading threat to Lake Tahoe’s clarity: pollution in stormwater runoff from the Tahoe Basin’s urbanized areas. Unchecked twentieth-century development paved over much of Tahoe’s marshes and wetlands, which had acted as natural pollution filters. Now, when rain hits our roads and parking lots, it washes off fine sediment pollution into stormwater pipes to the Lake, clouding its water.

League experts train community members to collect stormwater samples from pipes throughout the Tahoe Basin, which we analyze for turbidity, an indicator of fine sediment. In response to residents’ concerns about neighborhood pipes and their impact on Lake Tahoe, the League launched Pipe Keepers in 2012. To date, Pipe Keepers volunteers have collected over 2,000 water samples from 33 pipes around Lake Tahoe.

To sign up for a Pipe Keepers Training please RSVP for an upcoming training, or email us at protect@keeptahoeblue.org to learn more about the Pipe Keepers program.

What is fine sediment and why is it a problem?

Fine sediment particles are smaller than the width of a human hair and can remain suspended in Lake Tahoe for years, even decades, degrading its deepwater clarity. Sources of fine sediment include road traction abrasives (road sands) that are applied to our streets and highways in the winter; dirt and pollutants from streets, parking lots and neighborhoods; and even degradation of roads and other surfaces. All this material washes into storm drains during rain storms and snowmelt and pollutes the Lake.



Pipe Keepers
Program Stats

# of Watershed Watchers trained 146 69
# of Pipe Keepers trained 86 24
# of pipes monitored 33 23
# of samples analyzed 2,334 508

Explore our pipes


Learn more about stormwater

A special thank you to Pipe Keepers founding partner, Friends of the West Shore, who provided base funding and technical assistance in the early years of the program.

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