Send us a suggestion!

News Pipe Spring (Zion, MIA) No Longer SAFE

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ratagonia, Aug 14, 2017.

  1. ratagonia

    ratagonia

    Messages:
    3,678
    Likes:
    4,198
    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    I have a report that the Pipe Spring watersource, on the MIA land up near the top of the MIA Exit from Kolob Creek, is no longer safe for drinking. A recent visitor drank some BEFORE noticing the sign, and now is ill, looks like Giardia (unconfirmed at this writing, but definitely something NASTY).

    It is unlikely that this watersource will become safe in the near future. Long term hard to say. But what I do say is NO! Do not count on this, and even if not marked as unsafe, I would not use it. A loss to our community, but not worth risking your health on.

    Tom

    add: there was a sign there the individual did not see before drinking that said the water was no longer potable.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017
    Deagol likes this.
  2. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

    Messages:
    198
    Likes:
    212
    Location:
    La Verkin
    If someone in the community goes through and bottles some, they could send it in for testing for pretty cheap. I would, but don't have plans of being down there in the near future...
  3. ratagonia

    ratagonia

    Messages:
    3,678
    Likes:
    4,198
    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    ... which would not be definitive...
  4. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

    Messages:
    1,488
    Likes:
    1,637
    Location:
    Utah
    We were there in early July and the pipe had been capped and had a note indicating its unsuitability for drinking.

    A note is fine but don't cap it! It's a nice rinse an cool down at the least.

    Like tom said, truly a loss to the community. I typically dump most of my water at kolob creek so I don't have to carry it up the hill, knowing that there is a cold, clear source at the top of the hill. Looks like I'm lugging my water up the MIA now.


    The source of the spring is on the hill 100yards directly north. Not surprising that it is contaminated given the fact that the water is exposed to the surface and human/animal traffic such a short distance away.
  5. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

    Messages:
    952
    Likes:
    814
    It seems that the water could just be filtered as well (?).
  6. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

    Messages:
    1,488
    Likes:
    1,637
    Location:
    Utah
    As long as the pipe isn't capped.

    One nice thing about kolob is that I've never carried a filter. There is suitable water to be found in a couple places that does not (or at least didn't) require treatment.

    I always carry chemical treatment, but not having to wait is always nice.
  7. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

    Messages:
    643
    Likes:
    685
    Is it confirmed that this one sickness came from this source of water?

    Doesn't seem very logical to me as there are a lot of ways the person could have become ill
  8. LonePeak

    LonePeak

    Messages:
    76
    Likes:
    59
    I was under the impression that it was pretty much an accurate assumption that giardia infests all non-treated water sources, including springs. Is that not true?
  9. Dave Melton

    Dave Melton

    Messages:
    41
    Likes:
    86
    Location:
    Mammoth Lakes, CA
    Not true. But.....it exists in enough of them that it's usually prudent to consider most surface water suspect. I guess it depends on how lucky you're feeling.
    ratagonia likes this.
  10. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

    Messages:
    643
    Likes:
    685
    It isn't surface water

    Each person has a different level of tolerance also.
  11. Dave Melton

    Dave Melton

    Messages:
    41
    Likes:
    86
    Location:
    Mammoth Lakes, CA
    I didn't say it was. I was just answering lone peaks question. I agree with you that one person getting sick doesn't prove it came from there. It also doesn't mean it didn't.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017
  12. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

    Messages:
    952
    Likes:
    814
    No, it is very rare to have giardia in a spring. Giardia can't swim. Springs that do have giardia usually (perhaps always) have some sort of exposure to the ground above the spring source.

    Even in most wilderness streams that aren't springs, giardia is fairly rare. The exceptions are usually the basins that are grazed by sheep and cattle.

    Think of purifying the water the same as wearing your seat belt. If you are in a car and don't put on your seat belt chances are that you will be fine most of the time. If you ever get in an accident though, you will be sorry. Such is when purifying water.
    Taylor, Dave Melton and 2065toyota like this.
  13. ratagonia

    ratagonia

    Messages:
    3,678
    Likes:
    4,198
    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    1. Giardia is mostly transmitted by people (humans) pooping near watersources. OK, well, according to my memory of a study done on the Sierras.

    2. The spring may or may not come out above ground, before being scooped up and moved into the pipe. Details matter. It may or may not qualify as surface water.

    3. The sign found adjacent to the pipe that said "This water is not potable" is a clue that the water may not be safe to drink without treatment. (I have added this detail to the original post).

    4. The individual may or may not have Giardiosis. However, he has something nasty which he attributes to this flub. See #3. above.

    5. Yes, Giardia is rare, but bacteria are not. There are several around that may cause you an unpleasant week or two.

    Make your own choices, but...

    T
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017
    Dave Melton and 2065toyota like this.
  14. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

    Messages:
    952
    Likes:
    814
    Much of the Sierra (PS, Sierra is already plural; there is no such thing as the "Sierras". It's as bad as saying Zions for the national park) is closed to grazing (though much of it is open to grazing as well). In places that closed to grazing (National Parks, much of the Wasatch near SLC, or parts of the Sierra), the above may well be true.

    I did however look for the study in the Sierra that you are referring to. I don't know which one you are referring to, but all the ones I can find indicate the opposite.

    http://www.ericjlee.com/Articles/Sierra Water 5years.pdf

    The five year study (among the most detailed I can find) above says the following concerning the results from coliforms:

    Results.—A total of 364 sampling sites were analyzed. Coliforms were found in 9% (4/47) of Wild site samples, 12% (5/42) of Day Hike site samples, and 18% (20/111) of Backpacker site samples. In contrast, 63% (70/111) of Pack Animal site samples yielded coliforms, and 96% (51/53) of samples from the Cattle areas grew coliforms. Differences between Backpacker vs Cattle or Pack Animal areas were significant at P .05. All samples grew normal aquatic bacteria.

    Conclusion.—Surface water from watersheds below cattle areas and those used by pack animals is at high risk for containing coliform organisms. Water from Wild, Day Hike, or Backpack sites poses far less risk for contamination by coliforms.

    Since coliform are bacteria present in intestinal tracts of animals, having a high coliform count is a good indicator of giardia risk, but also risks from bacterial diseases as well.

    I already said that as well: Springs that do have giardia usually (perhaps always) have some sort of exposure to the ground above the spring source.
  15. ratagonia

    ratagonia

    Messages:
    3,678
    Likes:
    4,198
    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    Uh, no. If we were speaking Spanish, Sierra is plural. But we be speaking American, and common usage allows usage both ways.

    https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/sierra

    Tom
  16. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

    Messages:
    952
    Likes:
    814
    It's still the same as saying Zions National Park. People do it, even commonly, but it still doesn't make it right.;) If in "American speak", the plural for Sierra is Sierras, where is the other Sierra that you speak of?

    From the same website on the plural of Zion:

    https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/zion

    As far as I know, there is only one proper noun Sierra in the California, just as there is only one Zion National Park in Utah. I guess from an English/American standpoint if there were more than one Sierra or Zion National Park, "Sierras" or "Zions" might be OK.

    Now that I think of it, there is a Sierra Blanca in New Mexico, so I guess if you were referring to both locations, "Sierras" might be OK in American speak.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017
  17. ratagonia

    ratagonia

    Messages:
    3,678
    Likes:
    4,198
    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    I was mostly referring to this paragraph:

    "The disease has been referred to as “beaver fever” because of a presumed link to those water-dwelling animals known to be carriers.However, it has been suggested that it is more likely that humans have carried the parasite into the wilderness and that beavers may actually be the victims.In particular, there is a growing amount of data showing that beavers living downstream from campgrounds have a high Giardia infection rate compared with a near-zero rate for beavers living in more remote areas."

    Many might find this article interesting:

    January 21, 2002
    Giardia Lamblia and Giardiasis

    With Particular Attention to the Sierra Nevada
    By Robert L. Rockwell

    This link also provides a rebuttal to this particular article

    Tom
  18. darhawk

    darhawk

    Messages:
    44
    Likes:
    69
    We saw it like this, but there was still water flowing from under the cap. We saw the sign, but had a filtration system, one of those squeeze bottles. We used it, filtered, on 7 different people. No one got sick. I'm saying: Be careful. But I'm also saying, that even though it is capped, it is still usable if filtered. Just thought it might be nice to know.
  19. ratagonia

    ratagonia

    Messages:
    3,678
    Likes:
    4,198
    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    But it could be not-flowing at all, at any time. So not count-on-able.

    T
  20. ratagonia

    ratagonia

    Messages:
    3,678
    Likes:
    4,198
    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    Update from the OP:

    Hey Tom,

    Sorry for the delay, I was out this last week backpacking and didn't have internet.

    Basically, the lab tests were inconclusive. They came back negative for Giardia, but according to the doc the Giardia test has poor sensitivity. It's only about 60% effective at detecting it in people who have it, so the chance for false negatives is high. He said they could do an additional two tests to better determine if I actually have it - and that's often what they have to do - but since my symptoms were already resolved with the Giardia antibiotic, it would be an unnecessary expense.

    However, the lab tests were positive for white blood cells, which means I did have some sort of bacterial infection. According to the doc, we just don't know if it was Giardia or not. On the one hand, it could have been Giardia that the lab test didn't pick up and that the Flagyl antibiotic cleared up. Or it could have been a different bacterial infection, something like "traveler's diarrhea" food-borne E. coli, that just cleared up on its own (as it usually does) a few days after I came down with symptoms (the antibiotic I was taking wouldn't have helped something like that).

    Sorry that's not more insightful. Just be on the look out for signs on the spring that say it might be unsafe and possibly filter the water regardless, for peace of mind.

    Thanks,
    *************
Similar Threads: Pipe Spring
Forum Title Date
Trip Reports Pipe spring canyon. June 15 Jun 24, 2017
General Discussion Pipe Spring - Zion NP Sep 16, 2016
Trip Reports Pipe Spring Cyn Zion Oct 31 2015 (new anchor) Nov 2, 2015
Trip Reports The MIA Exit? By Choice? Pipe Spring Canyon & MIA Canyon May 16, 2014 May 17, 2014
Archives - Yahoo Canyons Group Pipe Spring Canyon, Zion Oct 24, 2009
Archives - Yahoo Canyons Group Video of Pipe Canyon GC 5-11-12 May 17, 2012