Squaw Valley is set to have another great ski season. Snow came early this year. But before the snow arrived in late October, a freak rainstorm inundated several water systems in the county where the famous ski resort is located. The new water system that was installed in the Gold Coast and High Camp areas of the resort was impacted by the torrential rain, and the water system was contaminated. Those two areas were the only areas affected by the rain. The contaminated water was never available to the public, according to a report issued by Liesl Kenney, the Public Relations Director for Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.
Anytime the word E.Coli is used people get nervous and scared. The E. Coli bacteria is a germ that can thrive in the digestive tracts of animals and humans. There are several types of this bacteria and many types are harmless. But some strains of the germ can cause kidney failure and anemia. In some cases, E. Coli can be fatal. Most of E. Coli strains come from drinking contaminated water, so it’s no surprise that discovering the bacteria in the water system at Squaw Valley was alarming. The restaurants in the areas where the bacteria was found have been closed, and the skiers are not allowed to drink the water. Squaw Valley is providing free bottled water to all the guests that are currently enjoying the early snowfall at the resort.
The Squaw Valley staff took the appropriate steps once the bacteria was discovered. After the routine tests were performed, the staff immediately contacted the Environmental Health Department in Placer County. The staff also contacted the Squaw Valley Public Service District. Both of those organizations followed standard protocol, and they began a treatment process to eliminate the bacteria from the contaminated water systems. Squaw Valley also notified other water safety experts to ensure all methods to clean the water were used. The resort decided not to use the water systems at High Camp and Gold Coast until health officials deem the water safe. That could mean water in those areas may not be used for several weeks, or months.
The resort has kept the lines of communication open with the guest. The well-being of all the skiers currently staying at the resort is the main priority at this point. Andy Wirth, the CEO of Squaw Valley has been on top of the issue ever since it was first reported.
Wirth said the water is showing signs of improvement. Three of the four wells that serve those two areas have low levels of the coliform bacteria and the E. Coli bacteria is gone, according to Mr. Wirth. The Sierra Sun did an article about the contamination and the director of the Placer County Environmental Health Department said the same thing that Wirth said about the status of the clean up.
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is a large resort, so it’s business as usual in 90 percent of the resort. The resort staff has gone out of their way to compensate the skiers that were affected by the water issue.
Learn more about Squaw Valley: http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Squaw-Valley-USA/6day/mid