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E. coli and drought at Hyrum Reservoir halt weekend plans

Posted at 10:20 PM, Sep 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-06 00:20:50-04

The start of the engine and the splash of the water are sounds you might be used to hearing during Labor Day weekend at Hyrum Reservoir in the past.

This year, it’s silent.

“We would be stopping people at the gate, restricting how many boats you could have,” Hyrum Lake State Park Ranger Michael Sovine said. “This year, our parking lot has very very few.”

Rangers say there are multiple reasons for the lack of visitors this weekend, like the low water levels, but one of the main causes is a recent discovery of bacteria in the water: E. coli.

“The Division of Water Quality does samples throughout the month in different reservoirs,” said Grant Koford, the environmental health director at Bear River Health Department. “They told us they found E. coli.”

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Experts say they’re still not sure where the bacteria came from.

“I don’t know where it’s coming from specifically, but I do know that the water levels are low and concentrations might be higher,” Koford said. “It’s naturally occurring to some extent in these reservoirs, but this has got to be quite high.”

While experts say that there is still E. coli found in the reservoir, for the moment, the levels have decreased and it is safe to go in the water.

“As of Friday, we were told that the water is safe to play in, though it is not recommended to consume,” Sovine said.

“We’ll keep sampling and see what happens,” Koford added.