Those visiting the Squaw Valley area are questioning the quality of the water following reports from the local government and media which claim that coliform bacteria and E. coli have been found in the water supply. The first news of water contamination came from the Placer County Department of Environmental Health early on in November. Since then Squaw Valley has worked to remedy the situation.
According to Squaw Valley representatives, the resort got straight to work accessing and addressing the water concerns, and they’re seeing improvements. At present, only three of the four water wells in the upper mountain region show any levels of E. coli and coliform bacteria. The trace amounts present have been lowered, and are on a steady decrease according to Wesley Nicks, the Director of the Placer County Department of Environmental Health.
Though there have been no reported incidents of anyone becoming sick due to drinking or coming in contact with water at the resort, some restrictions have been put in place. While the water condition at Squaw Valley is improving, restaurants remain closed to guests as is access to local drinking water until such time as the Department of Environmental Health gives the all clear to resume normal practices. Until such time, staff and guests are told provide their own drinking water. Those visiting the slopes, however, can continue skiing without worry.
Public Relations Director for Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Liesl Kenney, released a statement following weeks of water treatment to let guests and general public know more about the current water situation in the Squaw Valley Upper Mountain region, which can be read in its entirety here.
The contamination in question has been traced back to intense rain storms that took place in October. This affected water systems in the upper mountain, some of which had been undergoing maintenance and receiving upgrades. The water systems at Squaw Valley High Camp and Gold Coast were inundated with water, flooding the systems and leading to contamination at these two points. Squaw Valley has stated that the contamination hadn’t spread to other water systems in the upper mountain and at no point were their guests at danger of drinking contaminated water.
According to Kenney, as soon as they were made aware of the contamination, which they were alerted to during routine testing of their water systems, Squaw Valley notified the Department of Environmental Health so that the general public would be aware of the presence of E. coli and coliform bacteria. Once the proper authorities were notified, Squaw Valley took steps to address the contamination of its water systems.
Kenney insists that the resort remains committed to continual treatment of its water supply until all systems return to normal levels, wanting to make sure public health and safety remain at the top of their operating standards. Until then, water from High Camp and Gold Coast have been restricted from regular use, and when it is deemed safe by public health officials the public will be made aware of the change in status.