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Squaw Valley Water Treat For Contamination

Unusually heavy rains in October appear to have contaminated the Squaw Valley drinking water supply with dangerous levels of E. coli and coliform bacteria. This potential health issue was first reported to the Placer County Department of Environmental Health on November 8, 2016.


Since the report was made, the water was treated and is said to be showing signs of improvement. Four wells serve the upper portion of the mountain and three of them are showing no E. coli and low levels of coliform. Currently, restaurants located on the upper part of the mountain remain closed and skiers are not permitted to drink the water. However, top-to-bottm skiing continues at the resort. At no time was the contaminated water available to the public. High Camp and Gold Coast will not have their water turned back on until officials are sure the contamination has been fully treated. Bottled water is being supplied to all visitors and employees.


  1. coli is a gram-negative rod shaped bacteria that is common in the intestines of warm-blooded organisms. Most strains of E. coli strains are harmless and are actually of benefit to the host by producing vitamin K. However. some types can cause serious illness, usually due to fecal matter contaminating a food or water supply.


Like E. coli, most forms of coliform bacteria do not cause disease or illness in humans. The rare strains that are harmful are also from fecal contamination. The only way to reasonably know if coliform bacteria are present in a water supply is by testing because it cannot be tasted and creates no smell in the water or food supply.


Well water should be tested at least once a year for signs of E. coli and coliform bacteria.

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