Recreational waters might contain fecal matter after recent storms
SALT LAKE CITY — There might be fecal matter and other potentially harmful elements in recreational bodies of water around Utah, according to water experts. Heavy rain and flooding often carry anything on the ground into nearby waters, including poop from humans and animals.
The @UtahDEQ says recent monsoonal rains and flash flooding might have washed fecal matter into Utah’s rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Whatever you do, just don’t swallow the water. @kslnewsradio pic.twitter.com/YZtzJI1NmD
— Nick Wyatt (@NickWyattNews) August 4, 2021
It is something we might not think of before jumping into our favorite river, lake, or reservoir. Monsoonal rains and flash flooding, like those we have seen across the state over the last few weeks, can wash things we do not particularly want into those bodies of water.
“The places we love to recreate in, those aren’t being treated for chemicals, bacteria, fecal waste, any of the materials that might be getting in there,” said Dr. Kate Fickas, Utah Division of Water Quality, recreational water quality health program coordinator.
Fecal matter winding up in recreational waterways happens all the time, not only after big storms. While the DWQ monitors some areas for E. coli and other harmful bacteria, they cannot keep an eye on all of the areas recently impacted by flooding.
Should I go in the water?
Families should definitely wait to swim in lakes, reservoirs, and rivers for up to 72 hours after a big storm, said Dr. Fickas. However, there are some simple precautions to take once that period has passed.
“Always, you should avoid swallowing water in surface waters while swimming. That’s a good rule of thumb. The water isn’t treated, so you don’t necessarily know what’s in the water,” advises Dr. Fickas.
She also recommends using the bathroom before swimming and washing your hands after you get out of the water.
If you do go swimming and start experiencing symptoms, Dr. Fickas urges you to contact your local health department and poison control. This enables officials to track the source of the illness and inform others who might be recreating in those waters.
Today’s Top Stories
- Man dies during performance at Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show
- Layton City is under extreme firework restrictions
- Update: Vehicle crashes into Famous Footwear, leaving four injured
- Herriman mother saved by off-duty police officer
- 5 Ways You’re Watering Your Lawn Wrong
- One person dead in three-vehicle crash in southern Utah
- Shooting on TRAX platform leaves one dead, one injured
- ‘Jingle Bells’ was originally written as a Thanksgiving song
- State of Utah files lawsuit against pharmaceutical retailers
- Fireworks and some open flames are now banned in Park City