AT&T-owned Pacific Bell will remove two large, defunct telephone cables from the bottom of Lake Tahoe, following an agreement reached in federal court in response to a California environmental nonprofit’s legal complaint. 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 news release.

“Lake Tahoe is a vital source of drinking water to surrounding communities,” said Dr. Jimena Díaz Leiva, Science Director at the Center for Environmental Health (CEH). “These lead cables must be cleaned up to prevent any further lead leaching into the water. Even low concentrations of lead can have harmful health effects on vulnerable populations like children.”

Read the news coverage:

The San Francisco Chronicle, The Sacramento Bee, KFBK news radio, The Telegraph, The Daily KOS, The Tahoe Weekly, and The Foresthill Messenger.

Photos by Below the Blue.