A water quality statement released by Liesl Kenney, Public Relations Director for Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows is addressing reports of E. coli and coliform bacteria. The harmful bacteria, detected in the potable water supply at Squaw Valley forced High Camp and Gold Coast restaurants on the upper mountain forced restaurants to close their doors.
Much of the blame of the high bacterial count in the water supply for Squaw Valley is being attributed to recent heavy rainfalls that have come through the region in the past weeks. Squaw Valley Public Service District General Manager Mike Geary, commenting on the tainted water supply, “Given that Squaw Valley Resort recently completed construction of their updated water supply and distribution systems and subsequently received significantly above average rainfall, these results are not surprising.”
While food preparation is prohibited, prepackaged food is available for purchase. Individuals are prohibited from drinking water and urged to purchase bottled water for their personal needs.
The issue came to the attention of Placer County Department of Environmental Health director Wesley Nicks. Officials responded immediately by flushing the system with chlorine and repeated rinsing. In addition, to the chlorine treatments, engineering crews injected sodium hydrochloride to eradicate the harmful bacteria in the water supply. They report that the bacteria levels are decreasing in a majority of the wells tested, which provide water to the upper mountain.
Until all the wells test results show no indication of harmful bacteria, the water supply is not available to the general public. No health issues have been reported by the local community. Ski activities at the Squaw Valley Ski Resort continue as scheduled. Officials stressed that snow covering the ground can not harbor harmful bacteria. “Freezing tends to kill bacteria, so no problem there, these bacteria live inside of mammals so they like it warm,” according to Wesley Nicks.
Below is an except of the public statement issued by the Placer County Department of Environmental Health;
“Heavy weather systems affected many Placer County water facilities, in October.” “The above average rainfall ampount overloaded the capacity of the refurbished water system, at High Camp and Gold Coast, resulting in a bacterial tainting of the system.”
“After standard testing discovered the problem, the Placer County Environmental Health and the Squaw Valley Public Service District were contacted immediately.” “We have initiated steps to address the issue.” “Those staying at High Camp and Gold Coast will have normal and complete access to our facilities, including complimentary bottled water for drinking.”
Testing continues to monitor any changes in the potable water supply.