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tronaborn

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 #1 
I'm with Tom on this.  I never had any problem drinking water from the source near the Wizard Pool.  
Major Tom

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 #2 
I have never had an issue, and drink only spring water while Im in the valley. I usually just fill up my bottle from the sink, and drink about a gallon a day. Stay hydrated!
BigMc

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 #3 
Planning on coming out for a while in a couple...  Water is a huge issue since we are huge water drinkers.  I understand that the water is PROBABLY ok, but still worries me.  What do you think about bringing a Brita water filter to clean the water out before we drink it? 
Jeep XJ

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 #4 

Hi All,

 

So I made it out to the springs and tested the water at the end of February 2010 from the faucet at the Lower Warm Springs (crystal pool area) and sent them to a certified laboratory for analysis of Total Coliform with E.Coli, and a Heterotrophic plate count. 

 

1.)  There was no Coliforms or E.Coli bacteria present in the water (An indicator of fecal contamination) which would cause diarrhea if present.

 

2.) The Heterotrophic plate count was high estimated at 7,600 CFU/ml (An indicator of total bacterial levels in the water although generally not harmful it is useful at assessing the fitness of water delivery systems).  

 

Conclusion of testing:  There was no evidence at the time of testing that the source water has been contaminated with human sewage.  There are conditions present to support the high HPC measured.  Presently conditions exist such as the stagnant/standing water at the source, and possible contamination of the plumbing system, and contamination of the uncovered source by wildlife.  Boiling for a few minutes before drinking would be ideal. 

 

About Heterotrophic plate count levels: 

 

Heterotrophic Bacteria are naturally occurring in the environment.  High plate counts commonly occur due to re-growth which occurs in areas of distribution or plumbing systems where the water may remain stationary for a significant amount of time; this also commonly occurs in bottled water, water softeners or carbon filters. In order to ensure that re-growth of bacteria is kept to a minimum, general water safety practices such as maintenance protocols, regular cleaning, temperature management (boiling your water) and maintenance of a disinfectant residual (e.g. Chlorine) could be used. If the HPC are high one could consider looking at whether the system is stagnant, has been adequately cleaned, whether the disinfectant residual is effective, and the efficiency of temperature management. A failing in any of these areas could lead to elevated HPC levels.  There are no government standards to acceptable plate count levels.  Generally plate counts above 500CFU/ml are considered high.

 

Please note:  Environmental Sampling only reveals a snapshot of the conditions at the time of testing.  All environmental sampling is limited actual levels may be higher and/or lower and seasonal conditions may also affect results. 

Methodology: Sample(s) were collected in pre-sealed sterile 150ml plastic containers using sterile gloves and no direct contact occurred during sampling.  Water was allowed to run for five minutes before collecting the sample from the faucet at the lower springs.   Samples were sent to a CA state certified environmental testing laboratory.  

Disclaimer: The information posted here is purely informational and not meant to act a conclusive scientific study or substitute for a standard water potability test.  

 

Areas for future study by SPA:

 

1.) A sample from the source collected in tandem with a sample from the faucet to see if the elevated levels are arising from the plumbing piping.  Due to cost and the fact people are concerned with potability and water is only collected from the faucet for drinking and not the source.  I only had the sample from the faucet at the lower springs analyzed - the Palm spring (wizard pool area) and primitive Upper Warm Spring was not sampled.

 

2.) What types of bacteria are contained and at what levels occur seasonally?  Further analysis would be necessary which would involve further culturing of multiple samples over regular time intervals (this could be costly).

 

3.) What effect does having the source being open and stagnant lead to the elevated HPC levels if the plumbing is found to not be contributing to high levels.  Factors of concern would be the contamination of the uncovered source pool by coyotes, bats, burro’s, birds and the many small rodents that frequent the area.  A half inch screen above the source would limit wildlife contamination but an alternate water pool or trough would need to be established for the benefit of affected species.

 

4.) Completing a standard water potability test consisting of drawing a sample from a known property or water source, providing Nitrate/Nitrogen and Coliform Bacteria Testing, along with E.Coli testing (FHA/VA). It also means providing testing for Total Dissolved Solids, Water Hardness, pH, and Iron Content Testing.  A metals profile analysis would also be useful for additional data. 

 

 

Happy Easter/Spring Break to All!

 

Have fun at the springs!

Vern

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 #5 
In '99 I did my CSU grad project at the springs.  I tested for coliforms and ecoli trying to determine if the presence of people had contaminated the springs.

What I found was the water near humans (i.e. the lower springs) was absent of both coliform or ecoli, but that the upper spring was contaminated from the donkeys or other animals in the area.

I didn't test for metals, but the water was good as far as bacteria goes.

I was just out there last month and forgot to bring a copy of my report for Lizard Lee, I'll try and bring it next time.
Major Tom

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 #6 
my penis has never been known to shirk! (and I drank a LOT of water)
xjgary
 #7 

From my obersvation of regulars who have been drinking the water for many years, it causes memory loss, decreased cognitive ability, gain of useless belly fat, penis shirkage, and breast sag (in both men and women).  Other than that, no problem.

Jeep XJ

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 #8 
The two major concerns for Potability would be bacteria and metals present.

Coliform bacteria would be introduced to the spring through sewage seepage into the ground into the underground spring, or someone contaminating the spring since it is open.  Testing is a cheap test next time I visit I will collect a sample and have the source analyzed by doing a heterotrophic plate count and a Coliform bacteria count. 

Heavy metals could be present in the water that have disolved from the rock.  Or by human contamination such as when someone drops their flashlight in the source, and yes that happened once and someone dove in and got it out, which was very dangerous due to the heat and could have killed the guy.

About drinking the water it is potable and is likely fine but you never know some idiot could pour chemicals in it or drop something in the source.  I choose to bring my own water, but I have and many others drink the water and don't get sick.
  
What did the previous water analysis find for bacteria levels and Heavy Metals?
Sierra Shadow

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Posts: 37
 #9 
It worked for me, try copy and paste.  And thank you very much Tom.  That is a very informative analysis.
matmiss

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 #10 
I am interested, but link doesn't work?
Major Tom

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 #11 
A common question from new visitors is often: "How potable is the water?" The park service has signs to not drink the water, and that it is unsafe. I believe they do this as a liability issue since the source is uncovered, and could be contaminated at any time. However, some years back I did do a water analysis of Lower and Palm Springs, along with water from several canyons in the Inyo Mountains, and the artesian springs halfway across the valley in an effort to determine where the spring water has its origins. The work was part of a thesis project for my work in hydrogeology. Here is the link for those interested in the dry subject of water: http://www.majorproduction.net/saline.html
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