Creighton Avila

(530) 621-5153

Placerville, CA - The County continues to warn the public to avoid all contact with the stormwater drainage in the vicinity of the El Dorado Trial near the end of Stage Court due to a high pH level. This includes avoiding drinking, fishing, swimming, and wading in the water. The County further warns that consumption of any stormwater should be avoided. Stormwater may not meet California drinking water quality standards and may contain trace amounts of pesticides, metals, oils, and other constituents not suitable for drinking. 

Since January 2016, the County of El Dorado Community Development Agency has issued press releases 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). Permanent fencing has been installed at the area of concern along the El Dorado Trail. 

During and after heavy rainfall the pH in a limited area of this water has historically tested above 12.5, which is highly alkaline; however, due to the type of substance causing the elevated pH, the water presents a low health risk. The County advises that casual contact with this water is not likely to produce any harmful effects. It would take extended or repeated exposures to irritate the skin. Eyes are more sensitive and would be irritated sooner. 

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. 

For additional information regarding stormwater in the El Dorado Trail area please contact the Environmental Management Division at (530) 621-5300, or visit 

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