Skiers can ski safely and confidently as health officials and experts respond to an E. coli and coliform bacteria contamination in the High Camp and Gold Coast water system. The October rainstorm was a large one, bringing heavy rains down over Placer County. Several water systems were affected, including the system at High Camp and Gold Coast. The contamination was isolated, however, keeping the public safe from any exposure.
Squaw Valley was diligent in discovering the presence of coliform and E. coli during routine tests. What is coliform and E. coli, and how serious are they? Coliform bacteria are in of themselves not normally dangerous in any way. They do, however, indicated the presence of other potentially dangerous bacteria which may be present. So when Coliform is discovered in a water system, it is an indicator that something is amiss. E. coli is a bacterium that lives inside of the digestive tract of animals and people.
Squaw Valley immediately reported the issue to the Placer County Environmental Health and the Squaw Valley Public Service District. With the help of other leading water experts, they are continually working to return the water systems to normal. As of now, 75% of the wells are showing minimal coliform and absolutely no E. coli, which is great news!
Upper Mountain is open to skiing from top-to-bottom! Precautions have been put into place to protect their guests, such as maintaining the closure of the restaurants and not allowing the water to be consumed. No health issues have been reported at all, but just to be safe, High Camp and Gold Coast have suspended regular water usage until the experts give the okay. In the meantime, bottled water for drinking will be provided to the guests and they can expect normal access to the facilities.
Squaw valley is adamant that the safety of their guests is paramount.