Mr. Gridley: I have received your inquiry regarding swimming in Bountiful Lake. Bountiful City tells me they have no restrictions on swimming in the lake, and Davis County Health Department has not closed the lake to swimming due to public health concerns. That is not to say it has a clean bill of health. It does not meet public pool standards, and there may be parasites, toxic algae or other safety issues that are under the surface, but we don’t know/test for that. What we have tested for doesn’t show obvious public health hazards are present.
The landfill (BARD) operates the lake, and their number is (801) 298-6169.
I would suggest the following if you still plan on swimming: Swim with a buddy. Do not swallow the water. Always go feet first especially if you don’t know what’s under the water. Probably best to keep your head up above the lake surface. Be cautious and stay away from snapping turtles. Shower after use. Jerry Thompson, Davis County Environmental Health (801) 451-3296.
From the start I've always used earplugs when swimming in BL which I originally did for preventing heat loss, but am glad because it keeps water out of my ear and possible parasites entering that way. I also am good about not getting water in my mouth not to mention swallowing. I find that my throat swells from the start. It's like my body knows that stuff shouldn't go in there and I end up coughing up a bunch of phlegm after the swim and the swelling goes away. Only thing is that occasionally a very small amount of water enters my mouth and nose and are quickly and fully expelled. With goggles no water ever is exposed to my eyes.
So until somebody (probably me or Josh) actually gets sick or something, Bountiful Lake will probably remain open to swimming. It's pretty funny that the lake is administered by the dump.
So are my concerns satisfied?
- Well as far as swimming with a buddy? I agree, that its a good idea, but it won't happen every time. When it gets cold I'll have to meet that standard, but I have a few weeks left before hypothermia will be a valid concern.
- As far as going feet first, everytime. Diving isn't an option.
- Toxic Algae and parasites possibilities? It doesn't look like the county health dept plans to test for that so it's highly likely that it's there as BL isn't a typical swimming hot spot, just a fisherman's hangout. So my concern isn't quite satisfied there and I'm having trouble wondering if I'm overly cautious or what.
- Watch out for snapping turtles? Maybe that's what bit Josh last month.
- Shower after use - everytime I've gone I've showered right afterward with plenty of soap. Either at work or my parents house.
So without BL getting tested for parasites, it's highly possible that it does to an extent. With the amount of exposure I've had so far (over 16.5 hours), I've not got sick or had signs of skin or stomach issues. But at the same time, just cause you haven't got mugged after a couple weeks in Queens, doesn't mean that your beating isn't just right around the corner.