A recent incident at the world-famous Squaw Valley Ski Resort in California created a problem with the supply of drinking water. Squaw Valley was the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, and it is considered one of the nation’s premier winter sports locations.


During the summer of 2016, one of the water systems serving the Upper Mountain portion of Squaw Valley was upgraded. However, extremely heavy rainfall during October flooded this water system. According to information released by the Squaw Valley Ski Resort, routine tests revealed the presence of coliform and E. coli bacteria. The resort immediately notified the Placer County Department of Environmental quality. Water safety experts were also called in at this time.


To protect the public, Squaw Valley shut down restaurants at the Gold Coast and High Camp venues. The resort remained open for skiing. Squaw Valley management supplied free bottled water to all of their guests. The statement released on November 30 noted that no contaminated water was ever accessible by the public. There were no reports of health problems.


Treatments to remove the contamination from the wells was initiated. Those treatments were continuing at the end of November. By November 30, three of the four affected wells showed only low levels of coliform and were free of E. coli. However, the resort continued to keep restaurants closed. The statement indicated that this and other precautions would remain in effect until water experts determined that the entire water system was safe.


The water at Squaw Valley is now safe. Consequently, people who may still be concerned about a possible health risk do not need to worry. The prompt actions taken by resort management were effective.