Holiday vacation plans may have been changed following reports that the water supply at Squaw Valley may contain traces of E. coli and coliform. The public was first alerted to the potential contamination from a report published by the Placer County Department of Environmental Health ban in early November.
Since these findings were made known to the guests and residents in the area Squaw Valley has taken steps to remedy the situation with their water supply, representatives state. According to those same sources, Squaw Valley is seeing steady results thanks to those efforts. Squaw Valley has stated that of the four wells that provide drinking water in the upper mountain region, only three have any lingering traces of E. coli and coliform. The low levels that were initially detected have been steadily lowered and continually decline as treatment continues, said the Director of the Placer County Department of Environmental Health, Wesley Nicks.
To date there haven’t been any reported incidents of guests tot he resort falling ill due to drinking water. However, Squaw Valley has taken steps to ensure that their guests are secure in the confidence that the resort is safe. As the water wells are continued to be treated, restaurants have been closed until the Department of Environmental Health gives the results to the resort, stating that the water is safe to drink. While the resort is restricted in its use of water, guests are still welcome to enjoy skiing without incident but are asked to provide their own drinking water.
Following weeks of water treatment of the upper mountain region’s water supply, Liesl Kenney, Public Relations Director for Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, released a statement to the public about the current state of the drinking water there. The statement itself can be read here.
Keeney also reports that the original contamination had been traced back to water systems in the upper mountain which were affected during heavy rainfall in October. The water systems in question had undergone upgrades at the time and were inundated during those storms, resulting in flooding at Squaw Valley High Camp and Gold Coast. These two points are where the contamination had originated, but Kenney insists that it never spread to other systems and at no point where guests in danger of drinking contaminated water.
As soon as Squaw Valley was made aware of the contamination, treatment of the affected water systems were underway. The contamination was revealed during routine testing, and Squaw Valley immediately made the results known to the Department of Environmental Health. With the proper authorities notified, the resort took steps to restrict water use and begin systematic treatment.
The resort has reassured the public that it remains committed to the continual treatment of water systems until they are determined to contain normal levels of all trace bacteria. Until such time, Gold Coast and High Camp have been restricted in their regular water use. When the conditions of the water supply change the public will be notified through public health officials.