Assume any flood water you see is contaminated, Utah officials say

May 1, 2023, 8:39 AM | Updated: 8:52 am

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality have an important message to keep in mind as the tempe...

Spring-fed water flows into tanks before passing through a sand filter in the water treatment plant for the town of Stockton in Tooele County on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Environmental Quality has an important message about contaminated flood water to keep in mind as temperatures warm up and rivers and creeks rise.

“We want them to assume that all flood water is contaminated,” said the DEQ’s Ashley Sumner, “because it can be with bacteria and viruses that can make people sick.”

This is especially concerning for people who drink water from wells. She said that anybody with questions should call their 24-hour helpline, 801-536-4123.

Sumner explained that the potential for contaminated drinking water exists because flooding puts a strain on Utah’s water infrastructure.

“That can cause sewage backup in homes, wastewater facilities — making wastewater treatment more challenging, making drinking water treatment more challenging. We just want people to be aware that, when there is flooding in their area that this can cause other issues and just to be aware of that.”

One more piece of advice from the DEQ — wait 48 to 72 hours after any storm event before you recreate in water that may be impacted by flooding for the same reason.

Related reading: Park City’s water contaminated with PFAS, or ‘forever chemical’




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Assume any flood water you see is contaminated, Utah officials say