Thanks to the efforts of Placer County Environmental Health and the Squaw Valley Public Service District, the drinking water at Squaw Valley’s upper mountain is showing improvement. While it is not yet drinkable, tests conclude that three out of the four wells that serve the upper mountain have significantly decreased the presence of coliform bacteria to low levels. There was no E. coli found in the three wells sampled, all of which is evidence that the water quality at Squaw Valley is improving drastically.
Squaw Valley is environmentally conscious and had recently installed an upgraded water system over High Camp and Gold Coast. In addition to keeping their systems up-to-date, Squaw Valley also performs regular tests on their water quality. Because of these regular tests, the presence of E. coli and coliform bacteria was discovered quickly. The existence of these bacterium in the water systems was due to a particularly heavy rain storm back in October of 2016. This rain storm affected many different water systems within Placer County and the upgraded system at Squaw Valley was not immune.
The heavy rain caused flooding and soon the system at the famed ski resort were contaminated by the overflow. The water was rendered non-potable due to the bacteria. The issue was quickly detected because of Squaw Valley’s regular testing. Public safety officials and other water safety experts were contacted as soon as the issue became apparent.
With the help of these experts, Squaw Valley has taken the necessary steps to clean their water and systems. In a statement issued by Liesl Kenney, Public relations Director for Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, the Squaw Valley resort states that “the safety of our customers is paramount… We take this issue very seriously… We have taken steps to address the issue and will continue to do so until the water in the system has returned to normal levels.”
Restaurants at the upper mountain currently remain closed, but that skiers can still enjoy Squaw Valley. The famed ski resort has remained open for top-to-bottom skiing and has provided free bottled water for all facilities and guests.