Mt Whitney Webcam
Mt Williamson Webcam
Feature Topics
Who's Online
0 registered (), 8 Guests and 25 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
3218 Members
13 Forums
5295 Topics
49348 Posts

Max Online: 382 @ 11/07/12 05:45 AM
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >
Topic Options
#51698 - 08/17/17 01:08 PM Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17
Maverick Offline


Registered: 02/11/13
Posts: 71
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.

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


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 800
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!
_________________________
Have fun and enjoy the Gr8 Yd Opn.

Top
#51704 - 08/17/17 05:17 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: + @ti2d]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 981
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?

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


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 800
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
Yeah, you got me there, Doctor.

But my fingers are pointing to homo sapiens...
_________________________
Have fun and enjoy the Gr8 Yd Opn.

Top
#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.

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


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 800
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!
_________________________
Have fun and enjoy the Gr8 Yd Opn.

Top
#51734 - 08/19/17 10:06 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Maverick]
ScottHikerEsq Offline


Registered: 05/23/16
Posts: 19
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.

Top
#51735 - 08/19/17 11:58 AM 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
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?
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

Top
#51737 - 08/19/17 12:54 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: ScottHikerEsq]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 800
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
Inyo National Forest News & Events

Dated Thursday. Maverick was the first to post this news.
_________________________
Have fun and enjoy the Gr8 Yd Opn.

Top
#51738 - 08/19/17 04:18 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: + @ti2d]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 771
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)

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


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1536
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?
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

Top
#51741 - 08/19/17 11:06 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: + @ti2d]
ScottHikerEsq Offline


Registered: 05/23/16
Posts: 19
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?

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


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 981
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

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


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 981
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

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


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1097
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.

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


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 179
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 ).

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


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1536
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?
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

Top
#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

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


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1536
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)
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

Top
#51849 - 08/24/17 05:01 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: saltydog]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 981
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

Top
#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.

Top
#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.
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

Top
#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.

Top
#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)
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

Top
#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.

Top
#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
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

Top
#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?
_________________________
Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII

Top
#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)

Top
#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.
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

Top
#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)

Top
#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.

Top
#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 ∼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 ∼100 km3 of crystal-poor Early Rhyolite (760Ė650 ka) on the resurgent dome and later by three separate 5-unit clusters of varied Moat Rhyolites of small volume (527Ė101 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

Top
#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)

Top
#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.

Top
#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...
_________________________
Have fun and enjoy the Gr8 Yd Opn.

Top
#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

Top
#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.

Top
#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 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."

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.
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

Top
#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.

Top
#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)

Top
#51926 - 08/30/17 07:24 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Harvey Lankford]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1536
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Not surprised at the different versions of the story. Also not surprised at the drop off in business. I wouldn't call it hysteria so much as just a lack of information. There is speculation all over the various media sites that the store, restaurant and even campsites are shut down, and not word one on the Whitney Portal Store site about it. Inyo NF site says campers should bring water. County Environmental Health dept answers direct questions directly and simply. Direct questions on the WPS board are answered either not at all or with non-sequitur. And the sign in town obviously does not help.

It is a mystery to me why this was not all clarified right from the start: "Running water system is off, but creeks are full and the Store has an alternate supply of good fresh water. Open for business as usual (except for the showers, sorry). Bacon double cheeseburgers and Nimitz-Class pancakes are better than ever".

This is not rocket surgery.


Edited by saltydog (08/30/17 07:25 AM)
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

Top
#51927 - 08/30/17 10:06 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: saltydog]
AndyC Offline


Registered: 01/22/14
Posts: 7
Loc: Tehachapi, CA
"What we've got here is failure to communicate"

Top
#51929 - 08/30/17 10:55 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: AndyC]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 981
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: AndyC
"What we've got here is failure to communicate"

Cool Hand Luke. Love it.

Trying to distill (pardon the pun) what Peter and I have been trying to sort out MIGHT be this, although I am still speculated based on multiple sources:

The concrete structure housing the intake pipe may have been cracked, or not covered, or overflowed by this years large surface runoff, the screen or filter may have been clogged, the original site of the coliform unknown, the solution still being discussed from a wide range of options (I was told five), poor signage, and yes, failure to communicate.

When I go by there in about 2 weeks maybe I can ask to see the offending location and take a picture worth a thousand words.

Top
#51939 - 08/30/17 09:23 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Harvey Lankford]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1097
Loc: NorCal
I spoke with Kathy Barton yesterday from Inyo Environmental Health. Got pretty much the same story about the spring flow decreasing dramatically and popping up at a new spring nearby. She described the old spring as being between the trailhead and the store, further up the hill, but I can't say that I understood her for sure. I couldn't understand where the new spring has sprung up.

The geotechnical engineer in me suspects the spring flow may have shifted due to the record drought followed by a record snow year. That's a big and sudden swing in infiltration that can cause groundwater conditions to change. Water is stored in the joints and cracks of the granite, which can become clogged when flow rates change due to precipitate from minerals in the water, or due to fine grained soil transport, or it can move material and find new pathways to new springs. Its also possible that a screen might be clogged that's blocking flow into the springbox, but I have a hard time with that one, and it could be easily remedied to restore flow. As Bob was saying, earthquakes often change groundwater flow, especially right after an earthquake, but there hasn't been any significant ground motion in the Whitney area recently. I suspect its related to the sudden dramatic change in infiltration rate. As for the source of the E Coli, who knows. The concrete springbox was built in the 1930s and probably leaks, which would let exterior flow in. In any case, they could, and should, do some specialized tests to see if its human or animal.

Apparently Inyo is working to develop the new springs and they hope to have it done this season. I asked about the E coli test results, but Kathy didn't have any numbers on that and didn't know about any more recent testing. She didn't think the contamination was coming from the creek since its lower than the spring, but nothing seemed very definitive.

Here's an interesting study done by the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board testing E Coli from creeks flowing off the Eastern Sierra slopes. It's mainly focused on cattle pollution, but you can learn a lot about E Coli in the area from this report. The testing protocols used were able to distinguish between human and animal sources.


Edited by SierraNevada (08/30/17 09:36 PM)

Top
#51944 - 08/31/17 07:23 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: SierraNevada]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 981
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Many thanks SN

Substantiates what I was told

The earth, the spring, and animals have have movements.

Top
#51951 - 08/31/17 12:40 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: SierraNevada]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 771
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Good report; keep up the good work.

Cattle and sheep grazing in the high country was very common back in the early days, but most of it is now confined to the Owens Valley and Mono County. Sheep grazing, especially, at high mountain meadows was very extensive in the 19th and early 20th centuries; even John Muir grazed sheep at Tuolumne Meadows until he realized the impact it was having.

Many Eastern Sierra trails were built to provide easier grazing access for flocks of sheep...then bye, bye Big Horn Sheep.

Top
#51953 - 08/31/17 01:31 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: SierraNevada]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1536
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Thanks SN:

Good to have the additional info. If anyone would understand this, it would be you, and the uncertainty in the information you were given seems to leave a lot of smoke in the air.

I have no doubt that recent surface hydrology could affect the spring eventually, and it may even be related to the compromising of the spring structure: diminished pressure or the like. But fact remains that the system was shut down for e coli and total coliform, and "diminished flow" is not the same as "dried up". SO it still sounds to me as if the hydrology info is screening the discussion of the health issue, which in turn would explain why NO info at all was provided after the initial announcement by Inyo NF of the shutdown.

I can understand the NF and the County no wanting to hurt business, but it seems the failure to communicate has caused even more damage than necessary.


Edited by saltydog (08/31/17 01:32 PM)
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

Top
#51957 - 08/31/17 03:25 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: saltydog]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2203
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
Originally Posted By: saltydog
SO it still sounds to me as if the hydrology info is screening the discussion of the health issue, which in turn would explain why NO info at all was provided after the initial announcement by Inyo NF of the shutdown.

I can understand the NF and the County no wanting to hurt business, but it seems the failure to communicate has caused even more damage than necessary.

Is this the real PortalGate? I don't think it is a coverup. If asked, I'd say nix on that.
_________________________
Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII

Top
#51958 - 08/31/17 03:34 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: wagga]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 800
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
Originally Posted By: wagga
...Is this the real PortalGate?...


Intriguing...
_________________________
Have fun and enjoy the Gr8 Yd Opn.

Top
#51961 - 08/31/17 04:22 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: + @ti2d]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1097
Loc: NorCal
AndyC and Paul Newman summed it up, "what we have here is a failure to communicate." That's quite predictable, all things considered. I can understand the County and Inyo not taking the time and effort to investigate and craft a better explanation - with the spring shut down, their a$$es are fully covered. But Doug could benefit by posting some info on his Portal website. Not sure how much this is affecting his business, but the campground is losing money:

Attention: Whitney Portal Campground is open at a reduced rate as there will be no water available until the end of the 2017 season. Recreation.gov will notify reservation-holders impacted by this reduced rate and provide a partial refund. You must bring all the water you will need for your stay including water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, etc. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Are wag bags or shallow catholes contaminating the groundwater? Maybe, but unlikely to be the root cause of this problem. More likely that a person or animal did their business near the spring and it ran off into the springbox. Does this deserve more testing and investigation? Absolutely.

Top
#51962 - 08/31/17 04:25 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: + @ti2d]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 981
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
For whatever reason, this topic has a life of its own.

We assume the positive water sample was taken from a spigot somewhere. Bob, cattle are indeed a source of coliform, but not at Whitney Portal, instead humans, dogs, marmots, deer, bear, squirrels and any warm colon where coliform bacteria like to live.

Just for educational purposes, if a coliform likes 98.6F and a saline -like moisture, how long can it live when introduced into a hypo-osmotic (plain water) and cold ( say 40 F) environment. I wonder if the Health dept is actually culturing live coliform out of the water versus just doing a microscopic count of coliforms, thus indicating their presence dead or alive at some point and therefore of risk.

I do not know the answer and will just shut up. Anyone else interested can pursue.

SN just posted a second before me and I will add that his speculation of an animal doing his business in the box fits with my question about longevity of the bacteria once dumped


Edited by Harvey Lankford (08/31/17 04:27 PM)

Top
#51964 - 08/31/17 06:06 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: SierraNevada]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1536
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
I thought the county did provide a complete explanation of the shutdown: they found unacceptable levels of e. coli and total coliform. They believe because of mechanical damage and surface contamination of the developed spring, but they can't fix it because they can't trace it. The rest of it, diminished flow, moving springs maybe developing a new one may be perfectly accurate, but its not the reason the system was shut down. Isn't less water better than no water? So no diminished flow isn't the reason. Anything other than the contamination is just smoke.



Edited by saltydog (08/31/17 06:47 PM)
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

Top
#51965 - 08/31/17 06:32 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Harvey Lankford]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1097
Loc: NorCal
Harvey, we seem to be in agreement and posted at the same time. I worked in the water quality field for one year right out of undergrad, so I know just enough to be dangerous. I know enough to know we don't know what's really going on with this situation. The simplest explanations are usually the most accurate.

The tests they do these days for Fecal Indicator Bacteria (FIB) have advanced to where they can detect the source species without DNA testing. The allowable Colony Forming Units (CFU) standards are evolving and generally getting more strict. Oddly, the old standards are based on levels acceptable for a swimming pool and then applied to drinking water, and these standards are still common.

The samples need to be refrigerated and tested quickly. Quality control issues almost always lower the E Coli counts. Yes, the samples are cultured and then counted under a microscope. Testing details are in the link I sent earlier Lahontan Microbial Study of Eastern Sierra Streams

Top
#51966 - 08/31/17 06:46 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: saltydog]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1097
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: saltydog
The county did provide a complete explanation of the shutdown: they found unacceptable levels of e. coli and total coliform. They believe because of mechanical damage and surface contamination of the developed spring, but they can't fix it because they can't trace it. The rest of it, diminished flow, moving springs maybe developing a new one may be perfectly accurate, but its not the reason the system was shut down. Isn't less water better than no water? So no diminished flow isn't the reason. Anything other than the contamination is just smoke.

Salty, you are correct to isolate the two issues:

1) Contamination: We don't know for sure if it's "surface contamination" or if the groundwater is contaminated. Actually, they could trace it, and they should trace it, to identify where its coming from. Most likely its surface contamination, but this should be determined. If its the groundwater and related to human waste practices, it will likely show up at the new spring eventually.

2) Diminished flow: Salty is correct in pointing out this does not cause contamination, but it could make it more likely to accumulate or concentrate. In any case, it affects the solution - does it make more sense to rebuild a spring that's decreasing or develop a new one that's increasing? Do you leave the old one there in case the flow comes back?

Top
#52016 - 09/04/17 03:34 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Maverick]
Marcus Offline


Registered: 07/07/17
Posts: 46
Loc: California
Is it just me, or does the whole 'water contaminated with e-coli' thing seem a bit of a non-issue?

As in, it should not stop someone from visiting/hiking Whitney, since they should be filtering their water anyway - and a combination of something like the Sawyer Mini and Steripen easily counters the e-coli threat.

Does this also mean that the kitchen at Whitney Portal was using untreated stream water? Because if they were on mains supply, this should not effect them.

Top
#52017 - 09/04/17 09:00 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: dbd]
Togar11 Offline


Registered: 08/03/17
Posts: 1
Loc: California
I lived in mammoth lakes in 1983 and 1984 and we had swarms of quakes for days. All through the night and day. Some were pretty big and scary.

Top
#52020 - 09/04/17 10:44 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Marcus]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7194
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Marcus
Does this also mean that the kitchen at Whitney Portal was using untreated stream water? Because if they were on mains supply, this should not effect them.


They're hauling in bottled water.

Top
#52025 - 09/04/17 06:21 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: Marcus]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1097
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: Marcus
Is it just me, or does the whole 'water contaminated with e-coli' thing seem a bit of a non-issue?

As in, it should not stop someone from visiting/hiking Whitney, since they should be filtering their water anyway - and a combination of something like the Sawyer Mini and Steripen easily counters the e-coli threat.

Does this also mean that the kitchen at Whitney Portal was using untreated stream water? Because if they were on mains supply, this should not effect them.

Yes, this is a non-issue for the typical hiker who crashes at the Portal and leaves in the middle of the night or morning. Campers need to bring lots of water or filter. The store kitchen is on imported water now. It should be fixed with a new spring source later this season.

The bigger issue would be if the groundwater is getting contaminated from lack of compliance with wag bags. Based on the location of the spring, and nature of bacterial contamination, that seems unlikely, but not inconceivable.

Top
#52066 - 09/06/17 08:17 AM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: SierraNevada]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1097
Loc: NorCal
Stumbled onto an interesting database for Inyo drinking water systems.

Here's the Whitney Portal violation details. The first E Coli violation was found on Aug 1 and second test was Aug 15. No other tests reported since then. Click on the links on the left for more info.

Of particular interest, I see some Nitrate started to show up in 2008 (soon after the toilets were removed). That's the other contaminate of interest to watch regarding fecal waste contamination. The levels are low but its a possible indication of human or animal waste getting into the groundwater. In some ways, Nitrate is a better warning sign as it doesn't degrade as quickly as bacteria. Its not harmful in low doses. Taken together, this really calls for more investigation. If the groundwater is getting contaminated, it will show up in the new spring eventually.

BTW, drinking water standards for wells (and presumably springs as well - pun intended) does not allow any E Coli in a sample. In contrast, surface water samples from the creeks allows quite a bit of E Coli, acceptable for body contact. Surface water used for drinking would normally be chlorinated.

We also need to see the results of creek sampling (especially after the toilets were removed). Because the standards are much more relaxed for surface water, E Coli could be showing up in significant amounts and they wouldn't be obligated to do anything about it.

https://sdwis.waterboards.ca.gov/PDWW/JS...wsys_st_code=CA

https://sdwis.waterboards.ca.gov/PDWW/JS...=&end_date=

Top
#52077 - 09/06/17 09:15 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: SierraNevada]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1097
Loc: NorCal
Update: I spoke with Kathy Barton at Inyo Environmental Health again today to get the latest Nitrate levels. The last data reported by the state on that database link above was 2012. Kathy actually takes the samples and has the latest data, which is public information but not yet entered into the state database. Based on the numbers she reported, Nitrates haven't increased significantly since 2008. All the reported numbers are really low, within the noise of the test method. So once again, it's unlikely that the groundwater in this area is getting contaminated. In addition, she reported they found animal "activity" in the old spring box. So we have a reasonable explanation. Furthermore, the first test results from the new spring came back clean for E Coli. But she didn't think the new spring would come online this season after all, probably design/construction/approval delays.

I'm impressed with Kathy as a diligent and very competent public official perfectly suited for her job. She's got her eye on the ball and I'm confident she'll keep an eye on this going forward, at least for the spring water. The surface water up the trail is not under her jurisdiction. That sampling is done by Inyo NF and governed by the state - Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board.

I'll try to follow up with the surface water monitoring results when I get a chance. The allowable E Coli levels are much higher for surface water. I requested the data several years ago in an email to the previous District Ranger, Margaret Woods, but never heard back. A phone call will probably work better than email, I just need to find the time during business hours and catch the right person at their desk. Not that easy.

Top
#52176 - 09/15/17 05:47 PM Re: Whitney Portal Water Shutdown 8/17 [Re: SierraNevada]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 981
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: SierraNevada
In addition, she reported they found animal "activity" in the old spring box. So we have a reasonable explanation.

when I was there Sept 12, there was talk of simply, duh, putting a lid on the top of the box.

Top
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >