Squaw Valley issues statement on upper mountain water quality

Staff report

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — Squaw Valley has issued an extended statement in response to news this week that E. coli and coliform bacteria were detected in the drinking water at Squaw Valley’s upper mountain.

The potential health issue was first reported on Nov. 8 to the Placer County Department of Environmental Health.

Since then, the water has been treated consistently and is showing improvement. Three out of the four wells that serve upper mountain are showing low levels of coliform presently and no E. coli, Wesley Nicks, director of Placer County Environmental Health, told the Sierra Sun Tuesday.

While restaurants at upper mountain remained closed, and skiers are not allowed to drink water until the issue is fully resolved, no health issues have been reported, and top-to-bottom skiing is allowed to continue safely at the famed ski resort.

Below is the full statement provided to the Sun at 8:07 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, by Liesl Kenney, Public Relations Director for Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows:

Statement Regarding Water Quality at Squaw Valley Upper Mountain

Here are the facts about water quality at Squaw Valley’s upper mountain.

In October an unusually heavy rain storm affected several water systems in Placer County. At Squaw Valley, this unusual weather event led to an inundation of an upgraded water system installed over the summer at High Camp and Gold Coast, resulting in a contamination of that system. This issue was limited to that system, and none of our other water systems were affected. At no point was contaminated water available to the public.

After our routine testing detected this issue we immediately contacted Placer County Environmental Health and the Squaw Valley Public Service District. We also moved immediately to consult with other leading water safety experts. With their help, 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. We will not return to our regular water usage at High Camp or Gold Coast until we are fully assured by health officials and other experts that the water is safe.

The safety of our customers is paramount to us. We take this issue very seriously, as we do all safety issues at our resort. While this issue is being resolved, our guests at High Camp and Gold Coast will have normal and full access to our facilities, including free bottled water for drinking. We will update our guests when the experts confirm that this issue has been fully resolved.

We would like to thank Placer County and the Squaw Valley Public Service District for their assistance and ongoing cooperation with this matter.

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