Re: ‘No significant risk’ in Sequoia’s use of lead faucet valves, page 1 (print edition), March 13, 2015
Dan Blackwell, chief of facilities management at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, confirmed earlier this week that the wye strainers that were tagged “not for potable water use” were never installed at either Potwisha Campground or the Hospital Rock day use area. That’s reassuring to hundreds of visitors who visit these two foothills sites, among the busiest places in the parks during the spring season.
Wye strainers remove solids from water systems with the use of a perforated or wire mesh straining screen, and are used to protect equipment. The name comes from their configuration, which includes a branch angled off the flow path.
The questionable plumbing components were, however, installed last year at seasonal campgrounds at Grant Grove, Cedar Grove, Lodgepole, and Mineral King for use with spring-loaded faucets. Reportedly, more than 100 of the strainers were installed as a water-conservation measure to strain fine particles that could potentially jam the spring-loaded valves, thereby causing loss of water.
All of the campgrounds and the areas where the spring-loaded faucets are located containing the lead-containing wye strainers are currently closed for the season.
“We are in the process of replacing all wye strainers with a new compliant product,” said Woody Smeck, superintendent of Sequoia-Kings Canyon. “The replacement work will be completed and cross-checked prior to opening for public use this spring.”
Superintendent Smeck has asked Dan Blackwell to investigate the installation and breakdown in the parks’ quality assurance procedures.
All facilities that are currently open to the public are not affected by this issue, Smeck said.