Lake Tahoe Casino Water Restrictions Lifted

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Drinking water restrictions were lifted Friday at four hotel-casinos on Lake Tahoe's south shore after tests showed no bacteria in the system.

Guests at Harrah's Lake Tahoe, Harvey's Resort & Casino, Caesars Tahoe and Horizon Casino Resort were supplied with bottled water after problems surfaced Wednesday morning in Edgewood Water Co.'s system.

Guests were advised that while they couldn't drink tap water, they could bathe. Some casino restaurants closed and others remained open by switching to paper plates and plastic eating utensils .

"Everybody is glad we're back to normal," said John Packer, spokesman for Harrah's and Harvey's. "It was a big inconvenience, more to employees than the guests."

Steve Seibel, manager of Edgewood Water, said the problem occurred after a computer shut down the machine that treats water for the resorts with ozone.

Nevada requires two tests before boil-water precautionary orders can be lifted. Test results Thursday and Friday found the system contains no bacteria.

"We're still in the process of trying to figure out exactly what happened," Seibel said.

"This is unbelievable news that the restrictions have been lifted. We're all breathing a little easier right now," he added.

Guests said the water restrictions caused little or no inconvenience.

"If I can't lose money at craps or blackjack, that's a problem," said John Nguyen of San Francisco. "Not drinking tap water, that's not a problem."

To deal with the restrictions, Harrah's and Harvey's purchased a combined 69,000 pounds of ice, 97,000 bottles of water and 15,000 bottles of assorted juices.

The resorts also bought 55,000 foam dinner plates, another 55,000 dessert plates, 65,000 paper cups and 120,000 sets of plastic utensils.

"Some employees had to redouble their efforts to make us run as smoothly as possible," Packer said. "We did everything we could to make guests comfortable. I haven't heard of any complaints from guests."

At Caesars Tahoe, dishes were used at three casino restaurants. They were shipped to Caesars' sister casino, the Reno Hilton, for washing.