Lehi City to send out mailers warning of E. coli outbreak

Aug 29, 2023, 7:12 PM

LEHI, Utah — The City of Lehi is taking another step to warn residents of an E. coli outbreak in the city. The outbreak, first announced earlier this month, has led to a dozen confirmed cases and half a dozen hospitalizations, all involving children.

Each case stemmed from either drinking or playing in pressurized irrigation water, which is not treated.

Playing in her yard Tuesday, Lehi resident Paula Gonzalez explained that upon first hearing of the outbreak, she was concerned her dog Barley would fall ill.

“We were afraid because he gets wet, and he licks his paws,” she said.

Gonzalez saw the email that the city sent out to residents after the outbreak was reported. The Department of Health and Human Services estimated that 300 people could be sick.

It’s unclear how the outbreak could potentially impact pets, but vet clinics in the area tell KSL TV that an E. coli infection in dogs is not the same as contracting the more common bacteria, giardia.

This week, Gonzalez again heard about the outbreak at work, though the E. coli issue was news to some co-workers.

“I heard today that we have a student that is really sick,” she said. “But other people, they didn’t hear until today or yesterday about E. coli.”

Jeanteil Livingston, communications manager for the City of Lehi, said they’ve also been hearing of people who didn’t see the city email, text alert, social media posts, or news stories warning the community of the outbreak.

Residents are still finding out about it weeks later.

That’s why the city is now sending out 26,000 mailers Wednesday.

“We are doing this to make sure all Lehi residents receive this message,” Livingston said. “We are trying to utilize every single communications channel possible, so no resident can say they did not receive the message.”

Livingston said they’ve been getting info out to the public as soon as they get it in. The mailer explains the outbreak, and how the sickened people were playing in the pressurized irrigation water, which is different than culinary water.

The city outlines CDC guidelines that urge residents to refrain from watering their lawns or letting kids play in irrigation water and to cook all garden produce where pressurized irrigation water was used on the plants.

The mailer explains the treatment plan the city started. Livingston said the treatment, a sodium copper liquid put into two of the city’s reservoirs, is deemed safe for pets and livestock at the levels the city is using. They’re waiting on test results to see how it’s working.

“Even with the treatment that we’re currently using, it’s still not going to be to the standard of culinary water,” Livingston said. “And so, it’s just never safe to drink or play in that water.”

Livingston said they have not heard of any cases of someone just walking on a lawn.

Gonzalez said Barley’s been okay. She’s also been worried about picking her grapes for her family and neighbors to eat.

“I say, ‘I’m going to make them sick,’ you know, because of the E. coli,” she said.

After consulting with a science teacher at her school, Gonzalez learned that water used directly on plants and produce can leave the bacteria on her fruit.

She’s now only picking the grapes up high, untouched by the sprinklers and staying away from grapes near the ground.

“If sprinklers don’t get to fruit, don’t get wet, it should be fine,” she said.

In addition to sending the mailers, Livingston said Lehi City will start including inserts into their new resident packets that explain the difference between culinary water and pressurized irrigation water and outline the health impacts.

She also said the city keeps information updated on its website.

KSL 5 TV Live


Matt Gephardt reviewing the letter sent to Robert Bohman. (KSL TV)...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Get Gephardt helps man stuck with an out-of-network bill for a test his insurance pre-authorized

After a Morgan man went for a medical test pre-authorized by his insurance, he was surprised with an out-of-network bill he thought he was covered for. Get Gephardt helped him to sort everything out.

12 hours ago

Women hold signs at rally supppo...

PAUL J. WEBER Associated Press

Pregnant Texas woman asks a court to let her have an abortion under exceptions to state’s ban

A pregnant Texas woman whose fetus has a fatal diagnosis is asking a court to let her have an abortion. Attorneys for 31-year-old Kate Cox say they believe the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Austin is the first of its kind in the U.S. since Roe v. Wade was overturned last year.

2 days ago

File - The OpenAI logo appears on a mobile phone in front of a screen showing part of the company w...


Europe’s world-leading artificial intelligence rules are facing a do-or-die moment

Hailed as a world first, European Union artificial intelligence rules are facing a make-or-break moment as negotiators try to hammer out the final details this week — talks complicated by the sudden rise of generative AI that produces human-like work.

3 days ago

Members of the Miami Arts Studio mental health club, including from left, Salet Aquino, Dominique R...

Jocelyn Gecker, Associated Press

Lacking counselors, US schools turn to the booming business of online therapy

Trouble with playground bullies started for Maria Ishoo’s daughter in elementary school. Girls ganged up, calling her “fat” and “ugly.” Boys tripped and pushed her.

4 days ago

A long-time and well-known firefighter in Utah, Fitzgerald Petersen, has died after a battle with c...

Pat Reavy

Beloved Utah firefighter dies after battle with cancer

A long-time Utah firefighter, beloved by many across the state, passed away Friday after battling cancer.

5 days ago

Matt Evans hugs Wendy Stapley, the living donor coordinator for Intermountain Health, after a press...

Emily Ashcraft

Intermountain Medical Center ranks first for well-matched kidney donations this year

A perfect kidney match can be hard to find, but Matt Evans' wife Cathy was able to get a kidney that was a perfect match for her transplanted on Tuesday because of the National Kidney Registry and its paired exchange program.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

Lehi City to send out mailers warning of E. coli outbreak