Reports of E. coli bacteria and Coliform discovery in the drinking water at Squaw Valley’s upper mountain have placed the Department of Environmental Health in Placer County, Squaw Valley Resorts and water experts on high alert. Following the revelations, Placer County Environmental Health Director, Wesley Nicks told the press that officials are working closely with Squaw Valley Resort to arrest the situation, a report published by the Sierra Sun on November 29 indicates. Amid the concerns, county officials have given Squaw Valley the go ahead to open the Upper Mountain to give skier’s access to the Gold Coast and High Camp facilities while addressing public health issues with the urgency it deserves.
Under the approval, the resort is authorized to offer prepackaged water and food until the issue is solved. The precaution follows a spate of cold and snowy storms that had earlier enveloped the area. Reports indicate that after the water system was certified, tested and given an approval; it received over 9 inches of precipitation in 3 days. Following news of the presence of E. coli bacteria and Coliforms in Squaw Valley’s Upper Mountain water wells, the resort has also issued a press release. The press release penned by the PR Director for Squaw Valley Meadows, Liesly Kennedy was published in the Sierra Sun on December 1. The release covered a host of issues, including the water quality, the measures the establishment was taking to ensure public safety and a schedule of events.
In the release, Kennedy observed that the unusually heavy rain and storm recorded in October had greatly affected several water systems in Placer County. In Squaw Valley, the weather led to inundated upgrade of water systems installed at Gold Coast and High Camp by Squaw Valley, a move that is believed to have caused the contamination. However, the contamination was only limited to a single system and at no time was the water released for public consumption thereafter. When Squaw Valley officials realized the problem during routine testing, they informed the Placer County Environmental Health, various water experts and the Squaw Valley Public Service District. Sauers Engineering, the company that designed the water system was also notified about the issue.
The consultations will hopefully go a long way to help Squaw Valley and the country authorities to come up with a plan of action that will address the contamination issue on the affected system. Kennedy reiterated that the establishment will in the meantime not return regular water supply to the affected camps, until the local public health officials and water experts give an OK. Squaw Valley has taken these measures to protect the customers and ensure the resorts remain safe. However, guests at High Camp or Gold Coast are free to enjoy the camp facilities, since bottled water will be readily available. Kennedy concluded by saying that Squaw Valley will continue to update its guests regarding the matter. He thanked the Squaw Valley Service District and Placer County for their timely intervention and cooperation.