Placerville, CA - On January 28, 2016, the County of El Dorado Community Development Agency issued a press release advising the public to avoid contact with stormwater in the vicinity of the El Dorado Trail near the end of Stage Court due to high alkaline levels, which have been determined to be caused by water that contains calcium hydroxide (i.e. made up of calcium and hydroxide ions). The area of concern along the El Dorado Trail has been clearly posted with warning signs, caution tape and temporary fencing.
Staff continues to work closely with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (CVRWQCB), other state agencies, and the County Public Health Officer on this issue. The County is evaluating potential mitigation measures for this issue and will continue to monitor and sample water in the area throughout the rain season.
According to Dr. Nancy Williams, El Dorado County Public Health Officer:
"Calcium hydroxide is not currently classified in any of the four toxicity categories used by U.S. EPA. As a highly alkaline substance, solid calcium hydroxide is considered to be a moderately caustic irritant to exposed skin. However, because calcium hydroxide barely dissolves in water, casual contact with the pooled water next to the El Dorado Trail is not likely to produce any harmful effects. It would take extended or repeated exposures to this water to irritate skin. Eyes are more sensitive and would be irritated sooner. It is always wise to avoid unnecessary contact with any substance you don't know is safe."
The County is not aware of public contact with the water in the posted area near the El Dorado Trail that has resulted in reported injury or illness. However, the County continues to warn the public to avoid contact with this water and encourages the public to report any injury or illness associated with this issue to the El Dorado County Health Officer.
The following are updated facts regarding the investigation into this matter:
For additional information regarding the Order and investigation by the CVRWQCB please contact Walter Floyd, Project Manager, at (916) 464-4651. For questions about the current water tests in the El Dorado Trail area please contact the Environmental Management Division at (530) 621-5300.
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