Dujanovic: If you live in this city, don’t let kids run through sprinklers

Aug 24, 2023, 6:00 AM | Updated: Aug 29, 2023, 2:12 pm

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

LEHI, Utah — I didn’t understand the dangers of E. coli until I saw and read about what’s happening in Lehi.

Lehi is one of the fastest-growing cities in Utah. Hugging the northern edge of Utah County, and home to the state’s tech hub, it boasts nearly 80,000 residents with 85% of the households made up of families.

When I drive through it I can’t help but notice the newness of the city. New homes, new corporate offices, new restaurants.

With new growth has come an unwelcome problem. The city finds itself with a public health scare on its hands that’s rooted in its irrigation system.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been watching news releases and news reporting about the city’s E. coli outbreak that’s making people sick. At last count, a dozen cases have been documented.

It broke my heart to watch the story reported by my colleague, Ladd Egan at KSL 5 TV.

Little Avery was running through the sprinklers, while E. coli was spilling out on her. It made her so ill, the 3-year-old girl wound up in the hospital for nearly two weeks and her grandmother says doctors aren’t sure if Avery’s kidney function will ever return to normal.

Here’s some important information I’ve learned about the dangers of E. coli.

Put simply, it’s evil.

Its impact on humans can go beyond diarrhea, cramping, nausea and vomiting. Like in the case of the 3-year-old who spent almost two weeks in a hospital, it can ravage kidneys, especially of the young, old, and immune-compromised, according to the CDC.

Lawn sprinklers spreading E. coli to humans in Lehi

On its website and in a news release, the city says it’s traced the outbreak to its pressurized irrigation system.

To be perfectly clear, this is NOT the system residents use inside their homes to get drinking water from the tap. It’s a separate system residents use to water their lawns. The city says sampling shows that E. coli O 1 5 7 was found in the sediment of the reservoir that was tested and at “five exposure sites”.

The city is working to resolve the problem, but until it does residents need to take precautions.

City urges extreme precautions

If my kids were still young, I would heed every single one of the city’s warnings.

First, don’t let your kids run through sprinklers.

That’s one of a long list of action steps the city is telling residents to take.

No matter how hot August gets, don’t let your kids cool off by showering in sprinkler water. Because kids tend to get water in their mouths when playing in it.

And that’s not all.

In concert with the Centers for Disease Control, the city urges parents to not let kids play on slippery lawn slides that are hooked to outdoor hoses; don’t fill up play pools with irrigation water; if a child plays on a lawn don’t let them put their hands in their mouths.

Gardens are at risk too

August is the start of harvest season for home gardeners in Utah. But in Lehi, the city is warning residents not to eat raw fruits and vegetables that have been watered with the city’s irrigation system.

No amount of washing and rinsing is guaranteed to get rid of the bacteria.

“Residents are strongly advised to exercise caution when consuming uncooked produce from personal gardens,” the city advised.

Home gardeners are told to glove up when working in their yards to avoid coming in contact with irrigation water and to wash their hands thoroughly after working in their yards.

Now, I don’t have much of a green thumb, but as a mom of three, my small bounty of zucchini, tomatoes and raspberries would not have made it into my kitchen under these circumstances.

Debbie Dujanovic is the co-host of Dave & Dujanovic.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


"Scrambled" is a good movie you'll want to see just for Leah McKendrick....

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show Review: ‘Scrambled’ actress Leah McKendrick was a joy to watch

Actress Leah McKendrick leaves you wanting more of her after watching "Scrambled". It's a good story about "writing what you know."

24 days ago

"The Promised Land" movie is packed with good storytelling and a fun main character....

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show Review: ‘The Promised Land’ is good storytelling with a side of Mads Mikkelsen

Good storytelling and Mads Mikkelsen make for "Promised Land" being a movie you'll want to see as soon as you can.

25 days ago

holiday shoppers get ready to start spending at city creek mall...

Amanda Dickson

Dickson: All I want for Christmas is to control my holiday spending!

Amanda Dickson wants to start doing a better job of controlling her holiday spending -- putting the emphasis on people rather than stuff.

3 months ago

KSL Movie Show co-host Steve Salles says "Maestro" is a fine picture you won't want to miss....

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show review: ‘Maestro’ shows a renown composer, flaws and all, exquisitely

Don't miss this movie review of Bradley Cooper's portrayal of Leonard Bernstein. "Maestro" is and exquisite and real must-see picture.

3 months ago

Image of Utah's Morning News host Amanda Dickson and colleague Kate Davis, who says she is grateful...

Amanda Dickson

Dickson: Social media and the importance of the radio community

Unlike social media, radio is one of the few experiences that offers everybody listening the same information at the same time.

3 months ago

Deedee Corradini, the former Salt Lake City mayor, was instrumental in getting the Olympics to Utah...

Amanda Dickson

Dickson: Remembering Deedee Corradini after the Olympics news today

Former Salt Lake City Mayor Deedee Corradini was instrumental in getting the Olympics. She would be ecstatic to see them again.

3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Dujanovic: If you live in this city, don’t let kids run through sprinklers