Rescuers Say Drink From Natural Water Sources Instead Of Suffering From Dehydration

Sep 4, 2019, 7:32 PM | Updated: 8:34 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Officials in Davis County are hoping new test results will show hikers that drinking water from natural sources is a better alternative than suffering from dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

From inside Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base, members of a special bioenvironmental and public health group revealed test results from streams around Davis County and Bountiful Pond. The tests were the idea of Sergeant Erik Bronemeier, who serves as commander of the Davis County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team.

“I get a lot of hikers that go up on the mountain and they underestimate the mountain,” Bornemeier said. “They don’t bring enough water, they don’t have filtration devices, and they come down they don’t have water and they’re incapacitated.”

Bornemeier was hopeful the test results would help show hikers, bikers and others who could become stranded that drinking the water around them is a better alternative than suffering from heat-related illnesses.

“When you notice that you’ve stopped sweating, and you’ve got red-dry skin, and your heart’s beating out of your chest, you’re going to want to make a call,” Bornemeier said.

Technical Sergeant Brian Itliong showed members of the media test results from several Davis County streams. In the majority of cases, they came back clean; no signs of bacteria. Itliong points out that streams and creeks are typically safer than ponds or lakes.

“If those are going to drink natural water, let it be running water, not sitting water or standing water, that’s where the bacteria typically manifests itself,” Itliong said.

There was however one exception in the samples. A sample from Mueller Creek showed indications of e-coli bacteria, which as Technical Sergeant Janelle Lewis said, can make you very sick. However, in a worst-case scenario, it may be better than suffering from dehydration.

“A lot of the intestinal tract problems; vomiting, nausea, it’s pretty nasty stuff,” Lewis explained. “As far as a dire situation when you’re out there, and you’re dehydrated; you can still drink it.”

Bornemeier added that hikers should always bring plenty of water and a water filter can be a major help in case they run out. Bornemeier said firefighters and search and rescue volunteers often drink from streams themselves when they end up in the wilderness for long periods of time.

“We’ll go to a local source, and we’ll filter that,” Bornemeier said. “Or if needs be, we’ll drink right out of it. I’ve done both.”

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Rescuers Say Drink From Natural Water Sources Instead Of Suffering From Dehydration