Search on for Source of E. Coli in Creek

Search on for Source of E. Coli in Creek

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John Daley ReportingA coalition of government agencies is beginning some intensive water studies in a major Wasatch Front drainage. The goal is to figure out the source of the e-coli bacteria that's turned up there.

The creek in question is in Emigration Canyon, Emigration Creek. Researchers first found e-coli in the stream in the summer of 2003. Its source is a mystery.

There are roughly 500 homes in the canyon, all of them have septic systems and that's one likely source of the pollution, though it could also be coming from pets and wild animals, or a combination.

Over the coming weeks researchers from the county, the state, the U of U and U.S. Geological Survey will take samples to figure out the source, then do a study to check out possible solutions.

Steve Jensen, S.L. County Water Resources Manager: "Given the potential high e-coli or fecal levels in the creek, then there are some potential health concerns, I think, that the community needs to deal with up here. I don't think there's any reason to be panicked about it. It's just that we've identified that there's a potential problem. We need to further quantify the problem and determine the source and then chart a path for the community to fix the problem."

The creek is not a culinary water source for the city and it eventually drains into the Jordan River and the Great Salt Lake. If e-coli levels are above recommended levels, the state will need to come up with a remediation plan. Possibly, small community wastewater systems would need to be installed.

Test results are expected back at the first of the next year.

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