Known for hosting the whole of the 1960 winter Olympics Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Ski Resort offers fantastic skiing and wonderful facilities. Last summer the resort upgraded the water systems for the upper mountain, focusing on the four wells and associated systems that service High Camp and Gold Coast. Shortly after the system had been cleared for full service usage, the area was inundated with heavy rains. One October storm dumped more than nine inches in less than 72 hours. Management, concerned with the public health and safety, ran additional tests to check for contamination from excessive surface water. When test results showed signs of E. Coli bacteria, water usage was restricted, halted, and local authorities with Placer County Environmental Health and the Squaw Valley Public Service District were called in to assist with further testing and treatments.
Residences in the surrounding area do not appear to have been affected, and systems for the rest of the resort were clear and safe. Skiing on the mountain continues, unaffected. The swift and effective shut down of restaurants, conveniences and drinking fountains on the upper mountain kept everyone safe. No health issues have been reported, and it appears that no contaminated water ever reached the public. The immediate steps taken by resort officials to resolve the issue in the best interests of their guests are greatly appreciated. Bottled drinking water has been provided free for all guests, and restroom facilities reopened once testing showed levels safe for sanitary purposes. Treatments to get water back to potable (drinkable) levels continue. Full water usage will not resume until every potential risk is completely neutralized and tests come back clear of all coliform bacteria indicators. Squaw Valley is acting with extreme caution, with the safety of the public as their foremost concern. Three of the four wells already responded to the initial treatments and issues with the fourth well are expected to be resolved soon. Continued testing shows that bacterial levels are being reduced by regular treatments, and Squaw Valley officials are looking into additional measures which could be implemented to maintain drinking water purity.