Torrential Rain Contaminates Two Squaw Valley Water Systems

People that don’t ski know about Squaw Valley. Squaw Valley is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. It sits on the border of Nevada and California. Lake Tahoe is the glacier lake that makes that part of the United States such a treasure. Squaw Valley is the resort that makes that part of the United States an international ski destination. The Squaw Valley resort hosted the 1960s Winter Olympics Games. Ever since then, the resort has attracted the top skiers from Europe, South America, and Asia. The slopes and trails are famous because they are named after the ski champions that participated in the 1960 Olympic Games. Squaw Valley merged with the Alpine Meadows ski resort a few years ago. That merger produced more than 6,000 acres of incredible terrain for winter sports lovers to enjoy.

Ski resorts have been in the news lately because of the drought that has changed the face of the Western part of the United States. Skiers have been faced with no snow, shorter seasons, and warmer weather. Many ski resorts had to close permanently over the last four years, but the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows resort was able to stay open and do a decent business during the past five ski seasons. But at the start of the 2016/2017 ski season, a natural event took Squaw Valley by surprise. A torrential mountain rain flooded four wells on resort property. Those wells serviced two resort water systems. The flood contaminated the water in those wells. Squaw Valley was forced to stop using those water systems.

Read more: Squaw Valley issues statement on upper mountain water quality

According to a statement released by the Public Relations Director for Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Liesl Kenney, the four wells were contaminated with the E. coli bacteria. According to Kenney, routine tests on the wells, after the rain stopped, showed signs of the coliform, and the E. Coli bacteria. Squaw Valley officials immediately contacted the Squaw Valley Public Service District, and the Environmental Health Department in Placer County. Officials also contacted other health safety experts, and the resort got their opinion on the steps the resort should take to keep skiers safe. The restaurants in the High Camp and Gold Coast areas of the resort were closed. Free bottled water was distributed to skiers throughout the resort.

Squaw Valley decided to err on the side of safety in this situation in order to protect the health of the skiers that came to the resort early this year. Right after the rain stopped, a major snow storm hit the lake Tahoe area, and Squaw Valley was flooded with early reservations. Andy Wirth, the CEO and president of the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows resort, issued a statement that ensured the safety of the skiers.

After the wells were treated for the first time, Liesl Kenney said three of the four wells showed a low level of coliform bacteria and no E. coli. The two water systems will remain closed until all signs of harmful bacteria have been totally eliminated from the wells.

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