When the Sierra Sun first reported the Squaw Valley water contamination issue in November 2016, skiers that were in the process of coming to the resort to ski got a little nervous. The 2015/2016 season was a good one, and skiers were expecting another long season. The Sierra Sun got the information about the water issue from Liesl Kenney, the Public Relations Director at Squaw Valley. Kenney issued a statement that reassured skiers that there is no danger, and the slopes and trails are open. Kenney said the restaurants in the High Camp and Gold Coast areas are closed. The resort wants to make sure the contamination was caused by flood water, and the harmful bacteria does not make its way to the skiers.
Placer County Public Relations Director, Robert Miller, released a statement to the Sierra Sun that said Squaw Valley health experts were taking water samples and testing them. Miller was referring to the four wells in the upper mountain area of the resort that tested positive for coliform and E. coli. Anytime E. coli is found in a water source it could be dangerous to humans and animals. There are hundreds of E. coli outbreaks every year in the United States. Some of the outbreaks are non-life threatening, and others are life threatening. The E. coli found in the wells in Squaw Valley never got into the water systems that service two areas of the resort. No one got sick, and most skiers never realized there was a water issue. Free bottled water was available, and other drinking water sources are bacteria free.
The Gold Coast and High Camp areas of the resort are the only areas that use the water from the four infected wells. But those wells are not needed, according to the Kenney statement. The guests have not been inconvenienced by the upper mountain water issue. Everyone at the resort knows all the appropriate steps have been taken to contain the bacteria. CEO Andy Wirth and his staff are known for being attentive and precise, when it comes to fixing any kind of Squaw Valley issue. Reference: http://www.sierrasun.com/news/environment/squaw-valley-issues-statement-on-upper-mountain-water-quality/
The Placer Country Environmental Health was contacted by the staff at Squaw Valley on November 8th, according to The Sierra Sun. The Squaw Valley Utility District was also contacted. Health experts have been working at the resort since the flood waters receded. The resort did an extensive update to the water system over the summer. The freak torrential rain that hit the area in October is the suspected cause of the contamination, not the water system update, according to Liesl Kenney. The exact cause of the well contamination has not been released. But three of the four infected wells are E. coli free now. Low levels of the coliform bacteria are still present in three wells, but health experts say the ongoing treatment should clear all four wells in the near future. The water systems in the High Camp and Gold Coast areas will remain closed until all signs of the harmful bacteria are gone.