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#51698 - 08/17/17 01:08 PM Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17
Maverick Offline


Registered: 02/11/13
Posts: 76
Loc: CA

Inyo NF:
Quote:
The water system at Whitney Portal has been ordered to be shut off.

The systemís source has tested positive for both E. coli and total coliform. The cause of the contamination is unknown at this point and therefore cannot be corrected.

As this system is the only potable water system in the Whitney Portal, this closure affects all areas in the Portal, including the Whitney Portal (family and group) and Whitney Portal Trailhead Campgrounds, recreation residences, and the Whitney Portal Store. It also affects the spigots at the overflow and hiker parking lot.

Visitors to the area are advised to bring water while recreating in Whitney Portal.

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#51700 - 08/17/17 01:48 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Maverick]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 804
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
Let me guess...

Caused by humans and the use and the improper disposal of W _ G _ A _ S.

What it is going to "boil" down to is indefinite closure of Whitney Portal? sick eek cry

I hope not. mad

So much for filtering water through my teeth.

I bet Doug & Earlene and the Portal Crew are livid!

That means no burgers and fries and pancakes!

Thank you for the post, Maverick!
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#51704 - 08/17/17 05:17 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: + @ti2d]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 984
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Bear, marmot, deer or other non human feces just above the water intake pipe could do that.

How about some DNA testing to prove the culprit, and some chlorine?

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#51716 - 08/18/17 08:04 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Harvey Lankford]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 804
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
Yeah, you got me there, Doctor.

But my fingers are pointing to homo sapiens...
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#51721 - 08/18/17 11:18 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: + @ti2d]
dbd Offline


Registered: 11/09/09
Posts: 200
Loc: San Diego
Originally Posted By: + @ti2d
Let me guess...

I bet Doug & Earlene and the Portal Crew are livid!

That means no burgers and fries and pancakes!


Aug 17 the Portal Store Kitchen was back in operation. I had ham and eggs.

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#51726 - 08/18/17 01:04 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: dbd]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 804
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
Originally Posted By: dbd
...Aug 17 the Portal Store Kitchen was back in operation. I had ham and eggs.


There IS a God!
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#51734 - 08/19/17 10:06 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Maverick]
ScottHikerEsq Offline


Registered: 05/23/16
Posts: 20
Loc: California
I just got an automated phone call from the U.S. Forest Service. It warned that there would be NO water at the Portal for the remainder of the 2017 season!

Not sure if this is 100% accurate, but we should prepare as if it is. I'm bringing a 5 gallon container with me to camp on August 28.

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#51735 - 08/19/17 11:58 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Harvey Lankford]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1547
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: Harvey Lankford
Bear, marmot, deer or other non human feces just above the water intake pipe could do that.

How about some DNA testing to prove the culprit, and some chlorine?


And where, exactly, is that intake pipe?
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#51737 - 08/19/17 12:54 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: ScottHikerEsq]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 804
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
Inyo National Forest News & Events

Dated Thursday. Maverick was the first to post this news.
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#51738 - 08/19/17 04:18 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: + @ti2d]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 777
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
E. Coli is found in the gut of humans and animals. Yes, your finger is pointing at the culprit.

"Definition
By Mayo Clinic Staff

Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria normally live in the intestines of healthy people and animals. Most varieties of E. coli are harmless or cause relatively brief diarrhea. But a few particularly nasty strains, such as E. coli O157:H7, can cause severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.

You may be exposed to E. coli from contaminated water or food ó especially raw vegetables and undercooked ground beef. Healthy adults usually recover from infection with E. coli O157:H7 within a week, but young children and older adults have a greater risk of developing a life-threatening form of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome."


In the 40+ years that I have lived in the Eastern Sierra, this is the first time of which I am aware that a water source has been shut down at a trail-head area due to E. Coli. Animals defecate all over these mountains, but certain trails with heavy human traffic, like Whitney, show obvious signs of improper disposal of human fecal material.

So, let's not rush to judgment on innocent animals who poop wherever they can. We have enough historical evidence over the past 30+ years regarding the Whitney area to be able to assign guilt to human impact on this fragile environment: 1) crowds of people who don't know how to poop in the woods, 2) removal of toilets, and 3) the infamous wag bags. Now with the heavy run-off from a record snow pack, it is very likely that a lot of human fecal material has found its way into the Portal water supply. Nature is taking its revenge.

A few days ago, while fishing at the inlet of Long Lake (the one above South Lake) on the Bishop Pass trail, I found fresh human poop next to the lake, which the guilty party had attempted to hide under a rock, leaving a long strand of used toilet paper. This is a recurring find along this beautiful trail.


Edited by Bob West (08/19/17 04:19 PM)

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#51739 - 08/19/17 04:31 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: + @ti2d]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1547
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: + @ti2d
Inyo National Forest News & Events

Dated Thursday. Maverick was the first to post this news.


The announcement says the "system's source" has been tested. Anyone know what that source is?
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#51741 - 08/19/17 11:06 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: + @ti2d]
ScottHikerEsq Offline


Registered: 05/23/16
Posts: 20
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: + @ti2d
Inyo National Forest News & Events

Dated Thursday. Maverick was the first to post this news.

Yes, but there was a subsequent post that the portal store was serving food again. With what water?

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#51745 - 08/20/17 10:49 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: ScottHikerEsq]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 984
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
No news from me about the warter status, but here us a good link about E. Coli
E.Coli

Note that presence of coliforms could be either toxic or benign types or indicate association of other pathogens. Either way, they would want to close usage. I dont know where the intake pipe is, but I doubt they would test the stream progressively higher to find where the contamination area is located. I imagine Trailcamp has needed a good flushing for a long time. Will the testers retest every day? Every week? Month? Not again until next season? You would think this recent test sample was not simply a random test in a high risk area, but part of ongoing public safety monitoring .

Coming off the High Trail to Agnew yesterday there were a lot of flowing streams..... and a lot of horse manure

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#51746 - 08/20/17 10:54 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: ScottHikerEsq]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 984
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: ScottHikerEsq

Yes, but there was a subsequent post that the portal store was serving food again. With what water?


Sodas are in bottles there, any water for food prep could be carried up the same way. Still hope to get my burger there in Sept

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#51799 - 08/22/17 08:16 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Maverick]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1098
Loc: NorCal
The County and probably also Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board will be all over this now that the source has been contaminated. They will probably be taking lots of samples all the way up the creek to Trail Camp. This could get very interesting if they get more hits upstream. If its just a one-off spike near the source, this might resolve more easily.

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#51804 - 08/22/17 09:13 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: ScottHikerEsq]
WanderingJim Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 185
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: ScottHikerEsq

Yes, but there was a subsequent post that the portal store was serving food again. With what water?


They were serving food on 8/18. Had a burger myself. Didn't really ask about the water (lack of oxygen made me stupid... or hungry for real food smile ).

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#51807 - 08/23/17 12:25 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: WanderingJim]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1547
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Still haven't seen anything definitive about where the source is. I would not assume it is Lone Pine Creek. North fork is between the store and that creek. And I believe the store is the farthest uphill of any of the water facilities. Anyone actually know what the source is for the system?
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#51828 - 08/23/17 04:30 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: saltydog]
Paul Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 172
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
Not that it makes a huge difference, but the water at the Lone Pine Campground is unaffected.

paul

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#51845 - 08/24/17 03:09 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Maverick]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1547
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
I just received this very informative reply from Inyo Department of Environmental Health:

Hi Peter
Thanks for your question. The Whitney Portal water source is a developed spring located on the hillside above the day use parking area. We think the spring construction has recently been compromised and now has allowed surface contamination to get in to the spring source. This is not acceptable for a public drinking water source and hence the discontinuation of the spring for their drinking water system.

Since E coli is naturally occurring in our environment, you should always assume that all surface water has E coli contamination. Because of this, it is advisable to always properly treat surface water before drinking, cooking, etc. You should not assume any surface water is safe to drink without the proper treatment.

Kathe Barton, REHS, Interim Director
Inyo County Environmental Health Services
Small Water System Local Primacy Agency
207 W South Street, Bishop, CA 93514
tel: (760) 873-7865 fax: (760) 873-3236
email: kbarton@inyocounty.us


Each must judge on your own, but for me, this clears Lone Pine Creek and North Fork.


Edited by saltydog (08/24/17 03:09 PM)
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#51849 - 08/24/17 05:01 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: saltydog]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 984
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Thanks for pursuing.

I wonder if the word "developed" spring means it is not presumably pristine water from on high, but say instead piped from some not-so-high source to that location.

Or does the word "developed" just mean a naturally -occuring spring that has been put to commercial or public use?

Either way, the coliform dont swim uphill so the source of contamination is at that spring...or higher. If dirty water at Trail Camp percolates through thousands of feet of rocks and gravel, where does it come out.?

One could put a harmless radioactive "tag" in Trail Camp lake but with dilution and passage of time to get downhill, it might be hard to detect. I realize this idea may be anathema to some folks even it is plausible. Dont know what other tricks the Water Dept has. Years ago the Brits had Indian "pundits" drop carved logs in rivers upstream and hoped to recover them downstream and map drainage of the Indian subcontinent. Did not work, trying to find a log umpteen miles or years later

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