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#51851 - 08/24/17 05:56 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 771
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
It's likely that the Portal water source is a deep well, which is why it was easy to shutdown the entire system. If it is a well, it might be anywhere from 150 to 300 feet deep. The aquifer is recharged over a number of years from creeks, runoff water, snow and rain.

If it is a deep well, it might take a long time for the contamination to disappear.

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#51852 - 08/24/17 05:58 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Harvey Lankford]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1536
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
"Developed Spring" can mean either a natural seep that is worked on or one that is built from scratch to catch water that does not quite seep to the surface but is present in quantity at the particular spot. Either way, the source is ground water that is at or close to the surface. Dirty water at Trail Camp percolating to the water table and emerging miles away and thousands of vertical feet downward takes a looooooong time to get there and is purified in the process. That's essentially the story with the voluminous spring that joins Lone Pine Creek near the eastern end of Bighorn Park.

As Kathe says in her letter, the contamination in the WP spring indicates a structural failure at that point (they ae normally closed pretty tight in masonry or concrete). TO me that indicates a crack plus human or animal activity in the immediate area of the spring.

Can't tell exactly where the spring might be - the "hillside above the parking area" could describe a lot of real estate, but I am thinking more likely the North Fork drainage than Lone Pine Creek, which is some distance to the south There is a smaller creek to the north of North Fork, direcly above the store. that would be my choice for a bed to develop such a spring. The pond in front of the store is fed by the North Fork and that lesser creek only, not LPC itself.
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#51884 - 08/27/17 06:19 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: saltydog]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 981
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
I took Doug some gallon jugs of water for the store today.

The signs down low in Lone Pine are incorrect. The wordage is something like No Water Up There. Nonsense. There is plenty in the streams.

But is there potable water from spigot? No. The spring itself shifted course, leaving the "developed" intake dry . Not sure when they tested, but several relatively cheap options have been discussed, including relocating the intake further up . Part of the bureaucratic nightmare, is, well, bureaucracy because "that is what it does." A solution might include Army Corps of Engineers grade of overkill. Other simpler choices will hopefully be the compromise, but when ?

I had a wonderful burger, and chat with both Dougs, Crazy Jack, and my wife and Wildflower Betsy swapped flower talk.

Will be back in Sept and see what has happened.

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#51885 - 08/27/17 10:09 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Harvey Lankford]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1536
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
"The spring ... shifted course"? What does that even mean? Left the intake dry? But it had to be shut down, even though there was no water in it? No e coli, just no water? In the wettest year on record?

Hmmmm.


Edited by saltydog (08/27/17 10:14 PM)
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#51887 - 08/28/17 05:25 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: saltydog]
ScottHikerEsq Offline


Registered: 05/23/16
Posts: 19
Loc: California
Is the stream that runs through the Portal Camp Grond contaminated?
I would still sterilize it with a UV pen.

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#51893 - 08/28/17 10:49 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Bob West]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1536
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: Bob West
It's likely that the Portal water source is a deep well, which is why it was easy to shutdown the entire system. If it is a well, it might be anywhere from 150 to 300 feet deep. The aquifer is recharged over a number of years from creeks, runoff water, snow and rain.

If it is a deep well, it might take a long time for the contamination to disappear.


It is not a well, it is a "developed spring", by definition within a few feet of the surface. See quote from Inyo COunty above
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#51894 - 08/28/17 02:25 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: saltydog]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2203
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
I doubt that an oxbow was at fault. Speaking of faults, don't you folk have earthquakes in the region?
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#51895 - 08/28/17 03:09 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: wagga]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 771
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Yes, we have earthquakes, but not many big ones recently. Here is the Caltech earthquake map of recent quakes:

http://scedc.caltech.edu/recent/

The Eastern Sierra Nevada region has been volcanically active for millions of years. We are right on a major geological uplift, which is why Mt. Whitney has such an odd shape: steep East side, gradual West side. Mt. Whitney is still growing!

Driving past Crowley Lake, one sees the Long Valley caldera, the blast crater from an eruption about 600,000 years ago, which lifted over 250,000 cubic kilometers of solid material into the atmosphere. By comparison, Mt. St. Helens produced a mere 250.

Several years ago we had a series of 6.nn quakes centered near Mammoth Lakes, CA. The quakes were caused by a deep magma body shifting upward. The magma body creates very hot water, which is used for power generation just East of Mammoth. The magma body is located almost directly below the intersection of HWYs 395 and 203 ( the road into Mammoth). I was working at the Pine Creek mine at the time of those quakes; it was pretty scary to see huge rock and earth slides coming down into Pine Creek canyon as the mine access road moved up and down like a giant snake.








Edited by Bob West (08/28/17 03:30 PM)

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#51898 - 08/28/17 04:21 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Bob West]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1536
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
That would explain the condition of the lower sections of the Pine Creek trail on the old Brownstone Mine road.
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#51899 - 08/28/17 06:14 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: saltydog]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 771
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Yes, that section of the Pine Creek Pass trail was originally built as a trail for mules, and later as a road, to access the Brown Stone Mine. Every Spring our crews would clear that section with a D9 Cat and front-end loader, so that development work could continue at the Brown Stone.

Since the Brown Stone Mine is no longer active, that section of road keeps getting rock fall from the embankments. A few years ago the current management of the Pine Creek facility (Pine Creek Development Corp.) cleared the road about half-way. No more work has been done since then on that road by the company. Sometimes the Pine Creek Pack station packers will clear away rock that are causing problems for their mules and horses.

The old mine road that goes from the Pine Creek Mine facility to Morgan Pass received heavy avalanche and rock-fall activity this past Spring. I haven't been up there this Summer, because of reports of the road having slid away into the canyon. Travel from Pine Creek to Morgan Lakes might be problematic.




Edited by Bob West (08/28/17 06:21 PM)

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#51902 - 08/28/17 07:07 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: wagga]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 981
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: wagga
I doubt that an oxbow was at fault.


correct, not an oxbow shifting because that would be a surface phenomenon

the water source is from a spring, ie, an underground "stream" and yes, they can shift courses, too.

Whether the aquifer changed "by itself," or this years' higher flow pattern induced the change is unknown. Gravity directs what goes on.

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#51905 - 08/28/17 09:54 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Bob West]
dbd Offline


Registered: 11/09/09
Posts: 200
Loc: San Diego
Originally Posted By: Bob West
Yes, we have earthquakes, but not many big ones recently.
...
Driving past Crowley Lake, one sees the Long Valley caldera, the blast crater from an eruption about 600,000 years ago, which lifted over 250,000 cubic kilometers of solid material into the atmosphere. By comparison, Mt. St. Helens produced a mere 250.


A somewhat different set of values is found in:

https://pubs.usgs.gov/dds/dds-81/Intro/GeologicMaps/GeologicHistory.html
"Long Valley Caldera
The Glass Mountain eruptions, which were fed by a large, chemically evolving magma chamber in the shallow crust, culminated in the cataclysmic eruption of 600 cubic kilometers of high-silica rhyolite 760,000 years ago."

A more detailed description of the events is given in:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0377027304001635
"Shortly before the 760-ka caldera-forming eruption, the mantle-driven focus of crustal melting shifted &#8764;20 km westward, abandoning its long-stable position under Glass Mountain and energizing instead the central Long Valley system that released 600 km3 of compositionally zoned rhyolitic Bishop Tuff (760 ka), followed by &#8764;100 km3 of crystal-poor Early Rhyolite (760–650 ka) on the resurgent dome and later by three separate 5-unit clusters of varied Moat Rhyolites of small volume (527–101 ka). "


Originally Posted By: Bob West
...
Several years ago we had a series of 6.nn quakes centered near Mammoth Lakes, CA.
...


Does "several years ago" refer to the 1980 magnitude 6 quakes? Time flies when we're having fun!

Dale B. Dalrymple

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#51907 - 08/29/17 07:40 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: dbd]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 771
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Well, it takes a scientist to get the correct, precise facts...LOL. Regardless of my inaccuracies, it was a very large eruption.

https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/long_valley/

I was referring to the 1989 events near Mammoth Lakes, when I was working at Pine Creek mine. There was a swarm of small quakes under Mammoth Mountain in 1980.

The current "Mammoth Scenic Loop" road that avoids the intersection of HWYs 395 and 203, and connects the town with HWY 395 north of Mammoth, was originally known as the "volcano escape route". That road was build after the volcanically related quakes of 1989. That name did not set well with some people who were afraid it would scare tourists and skiers away; it didn't.

Anyway...the point we seem to be making is the region experiences small, frequent earthquakes, and occasional large ones. That is a fact. The question is whether such activity could have damaged the Whitney Portal spring or has it been from structural failure over time? An open investigation might reveal the facts.

Like with the "Mammoth Scenic Loop" road naming, there seems to be a effort to not scare people away from Whitney Portal - quite rightly - but we know the facts regarding human pollution upstream from Whitney Portal.



Edited by Bob West (08/29/17 07:57 AM)

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#51908 - 08/29/17 08:29 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Bob West]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 981
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: Bob West
The question is whether such activity could have damaged the Whitney Portal spring or has it been from structural failure over time?

I was told the spring's "developed" concrete box structure (that I did not see myself) had dried up and the filter/screen was clogged. When or where the water sample was obtained I do not know: downstream at a spigot, swiped off the clogged screen, somewhere else? There is talk of installing an intake higher up. Meanwhile, visitor volume has dropped because of the hysteria.

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#51910 - 08/29/17 11:03 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Bob West]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 800
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
Did these earthquakes at Mammoth in October occur about the time of the Loma Prieta on October 17, 1989?

I find this stuff fascinating...
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#51911 - 08/29/17 11:10 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Bob West]
dbd Offline


Registered: 11/09/09
Posts: 200
Loc: San Diego
Originally Posted By: Bob West
Well, it takes a scientist to get the correct, precise facts...LOL. ...

No, just someone more interested in being accurate than entertaining.

Originally Posted By: Bob West
I was referring to the 1989 events near Mammoth Lakes, when I was working at Pine Creek mine. There was a swarm of small quakes under Mammoth Mountain in 1980.
...

I'll admit I can't do this from memory, so I searched for the largest quakes in the 1980s within 30 miles of Mammoth and this is the result for quakes >5.5:

Year__Magnitudes
1980__6.47, 6.31, 6.22, 6, 5.89, 5.71
1981__6
1982__none
1983__5.56, 5.54
1984__6.03
1985__none
1986__6.35, 5.84, 5.72
1987__none
1988__none
1989__none

There are swarms of small quakes under Mammoth every year for appropriate values of "small". 1980 was the "big" year

Originally Posted By: Bob West
Like with the "Mammoth Scenic Loop" road naming, there seems to be a effort to not scare people away from Whitney Portal...

The signs on Whitney Portal Road last Friday that said "No Water At Whitney Portal" seem more due to a lack of effort to communicate accurately than an effort not to scare.

Dale B. Dalrymple

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#51913 - 08/29/17 01:24 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: dbd]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 981
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: dbd
The signs on Whitney Portal Road last Friday that said "No Water At Whitney Portal" seem more due to a lack of effort to communicate accurately than an effort not to scare. Dale B. Dalrymple

I had said something similar earlier in this thread.
"The signs down low in Lone Pine are incorrect. The wordage is something like No Water Up There.
Nonsense. There is plenty in the streams."

Plain English is hard to come by , but whatever the intent, it has hurt visitation, camping, and business.

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#51915 - 08/29/17 08:37 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Harvey Lankford]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1536
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: Harvey Lankford
Originally Posted By: Bob West
The question is whether such activity could have damaged the Whitney Portal spring or has it been from structural failure over time?

I was told the spring's "developed" concrete box structure (that I did not see myself) had dried up and the filter/screen was clogged. When or where the water sample was obtained I do not know: downstream at a spigot, swiped off the clogged screen, somewhere else? There is talk of installing an intake higher up. Meanwhile, visitor volume has dropped because of the hysteria.


So far we have from someone at the Portal, apparently, (1) the spring changed course, (2) the concrete box dried up and (3) the the filter was clogged. Leaving aside the question of whether any of these even makes sense, none of the above have anything to do with the reasons given by Inyo County the agency that actually shut the system down: detection of e coli etc at the source. I know you are not making this stuff up, Harvey, but somebody is:

August 17, from Inyo NF, USFS:

"The water system at Whitney Portal has been ordered to be shut off.

The system’s 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."

August 24, From Inyo County"

"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 "

Moving spring, dry box and clogged filter, my ass.
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#51924 - 08/30/17 03:33 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: saltydog]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 981
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: saltydog
I know you are not making this stuff up

I talked to three different people, one in uniform. As typical, three versions. Perhaps the "moving spring" might have meant moving surface water. Dunno.

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#51925 - 08/30/17 07:19 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: + @ti2d]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 771
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
No association with the Loma Prieta quakes. I can't remember the month, but the third quake occurred as we arrived at work at 8 AM on a Monday morning. Our bus was rocking back and forth in time with the waving of the road.

It was a direct reaction to the movement of the magma body near the intersection of 395 and 203. The magma moved upward in a long tongue toward the surface of the earth, causing displacement of sub-surface rock. Reports at the time said that the magma came within about 1 1/2 miles of the surface. Powerful stuff.

During the those quakes the there was a lot of rock and dirt slides into Pine Creek canyon, and minor damage inside the offices, labs and mill. Our underground crews in Pine Creek Mine (deep inside Wheeler Ridge) reported little movement inside the mine, except for some "strange creaking sounds" from the rock. Work continued regardless; miners are a tough breed of human being.

We worked the rest of the day wearing our hard-hats, in case more things fell from the ceiling of our office.


Edited by Bob West (08/30/17 07:29 AM)

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