The drinking water at Bryce Canyon National Park is safe to drink
Bryce Canyon National Park is and has been in full compliance with the Utah Department of Environmental
Quality, Division of Drinking Water and the National Park Service Office of Public Health.
Why were there reports that drinking water is contaminated with E. coli?
The NPS collects pre-treatment water samples from our well site, even though they are not required, to help us
monitor conditions and develop mitigation treatments if needed. The positive bacteriological samples cited
were taken before filtration and chlorination treatment. The NPS has not recorded a positive bacteriological
sample after treatment, and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Drinking Water has
deemed the water as safe for public use. The park will be working with Garfield County in an attempt to resolve
any outstanding concerns regarding pre- and post-treatment water quality issues at the park.
What is the threat from Utah Prairie Dogs to the water at Bryce Canyon?
A federally-protected species, the Utah Prairie Dog, has inhabited the area near the park’s domestic water
supply for many years. When the water table rises during spring run off or during the monsoon season, and
water is flushed through the prairie dog burrows, there is a risk of fecal contamination before treatment. NPS
water treatment, as with other public water treatment facilities, successfully mitigates the risk to the public by
treating the water first through filtration and then with chlorine application. There have been no positive
samples for E coli or coliform following the NPS water treatment and the water is safe for public consumption.
In addition, NPS has worked successfully with the Fish and Wildlife Service to reduce any possible risk
associated with prairie dog burrows, through a series of measures, including construction of a prairie-dog
exclusion fence in October 2017. Prairie dogs were translocated away from the exclusion area following
completion of the fence, but some prairie dogs had already entered hibernation and remained in the area. The
remaining prairie dogs will be removed from within the fenced area and translocated to other sites on Federal
lands this summer.
Park Water Quality Testing Results can be found at: www.waterlink.utah.gov.
Any further Updates on this Issue can be found at: www.nps.gov/brca.
For the National Park Service:
Linda C. Mazzu, Superintendent
Bryce Canyon National Park
PO Box 640201
3000 S Highway 63, Bldg 1
Bryce Canyon, UT 84764
Office: (435) 834-4700
Cell: (435) 690-1177
For the US Fish and Wildlife Service:
Deputy Assistant Regional Director,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, CO 80228