Water Quality at Lake Powell is Everyones Job
The heart of camping season is upon us with literally hundreds of people enjoying the pleasures of camping along the shores of Lake Powell within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. With those increasing numbers, there is also an increasing threat to the lake’s water quality. Visitors are reminded that it’s everyone’s job to keep Lake Powell clean and safe.
Everyone must properly dispose of human and pet waste. Park regulations require anyone camping within ¼ miles of the shoreline of Lake Powell shall have a means of containing solid human waste such as a portable toilet, marine toilet on a vessel, a self-contained toilet in a recreational vehicle, or specifically engineered bag waste containment systems, which must be packed out. The only exception to this rule is if you are camping within 200 yards of a constructed toilet facility. Use of other types of plastic or paper bags as a receptacle for solid human waste is prohibited, as is placing waste containers in dumpsters. Additionally, there are several floating pumpout and restroom stations located in the more remote areas of Lake Powell, including near Rainbow Bridge National Monument. .
Vessels that are capable of overboard discharge of human waste must have that system incapacitated in order to be legal on Lake Powell. Boaters are encouraged to report any evidence of illegal waste disposal to park staff.
The water quality at Lake Powell is extremely high; beach closures are very isolated incidents, occurring less than once a year. "We’ve been monitoring water quality at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area since 1993," stated Superintendent Todd Brindle. "Lake Powell is one of the cleanest reservoirs in the country, and we have the data to prove it."
Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the beach monitoring season at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Water quality technicians collect on average 750 water samples each year between Memorial Day and Labor Day at popular as well as remote beach locations along nearly 2000 miles of shoreline. These samples are analyzed for elevated E. coli concentrations, which are indicative of fecal contamination and can pose a serious health risk to recreating visitors. In the event E. coli concentrations are elevated, beach areas will be closed to swimming and are monitored until the area no longer poses any health risks to the public and can be reopened.