Squaw Valley Addresses Water Quality Concerns

Residents in the Squaw Olympic Valley area have issued several complaints concerning the quality of the water, some even going so far to cite reports that claim the local water supply is contaminated with E. coli and coliform bacteria.

The reports in question come from the Placer County Department of Environmental Health on November 8, 2016, and they prompted a response from Squaw Valley to remedy the situation.

Since learning of the potential contamination, Squaw Valley quickly treated the water supply and are seeing signs of steady improvement in its quality. OF the four wells that provide water to the upper mountain, three show only low levels of coliform bacteria and no traces of E. coli. These are measurements made public by Wesley Nicks, Director of Placer County Department of Environmental Health.

Though this is a positive improvement over the conditions just a few weeks ago, though restaurants are still closed at the upper mountain and skiers are prohibited from drinking the water until the Department of Environmental Health issues an updated advisement on the issue. While no health issues have been reported from drinking water, health officials ask visitors to the resort to exercise caution and provide their own drinking water. In the meantime, skiing activities have been permitted to continue as normal.

Read more: Squaw Valley issues statement on upper mountain water quality

Liesl Kenney, Public Relations Director for Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows issued a statement last week to give the resort’s official position on the quality of the drinking water at Squaw Valley Upper Mountain.

According to Kenney, the cause for the contamination has been linked to an unseasonably harsh rain storm in October, which affected water systems across Placer County. This burdened the water systems at Squaw Valley High Camp and Gold Coast, which had received maintenance and upgrades this summer. The inundation at these points resulted in contamination at these points, though Kenney insists this did not spread to other water sources and the general public was never in danger of drinking contaminated water.

Kenney claims that as soon as the contamination was detected, which was noted during routine testing, Squaw Valley contacts the Department of Environmental Health and the Squaw Valley Public Service District to make sure the issue was known. It was at this time that steps were taken to address the water contamination issue, and Kenney reiterates the resort’s commitment to continue treatment practices until all water sources return to normal levels, citing the safety and comfort of their guests at the primary concern. Until such time, High Camp and Gold Coast will have restricted water use. When it is once again safe to use, and decided to be so at the discretion of experts, guests will be notified.

You can read the entire statement here.