Last week, the Utah Division of Water Quality issued an alert advising the public to refrain from recreational activities at treated sewage release sites.
The activities include swimming and tubing in or on the water where treated sewage discharges are located.
Due to the drought, many of the streams and rivers across the state are experiencing low to zero flow.
As a result, the division pointed out that streams and rivers receiving municipal treated sewage effluent have considerably less dilution than normal,
And in some cases, the flows may be nearly 100 percent effluent.
In the Castle Valley region, the state agency's advisory involved the Price River near the Wellington treatment plant and the San Rafael tributaries near Castle Dale, Ferron, Emery, Huntington and Orangeville.
In addition to the local sites, the advisory included the following locations where flows are considerably less than normal and into which treated sewage is discharged: Bear River near Corinne, Bear Creek near Salem and Payson, Chalk Creek at Coalville, Cub River at Richmond, Dry Creek at Spanish Fork, the Duchesne River near Duchesne, Eureka Creek at Eureka, East Canyon Creek at Jeremy Ranch, Little Bear River near Hyrum and Wellsville, Malad River near Bear River City and Tremonton, the pond system in Springville, Sanpitch River at Moroni, Silver Creek at Park City, Shoal Creek at Enterprise and Virgin River near St. George.
All sewage treatment facilities operating in Utah are required to meet appropriate standards to protect public health, indicated the water quality division.
However, the lack of dilution water due to extreme drought conditions may cause the rivers and streams receiving discharges to exceed water quality standards. The resulting situation may increase the risk of water-borne illnesses, concluded the state agency's advisory.