Samples were reportedly taken from pressurized irrigation water sources in Lehi, including a reservoir and nine exposure sites on Monday, Aug. 14. E. coli O157 was found in the sediment of that reservoir and in five of the exposure sites, according to Lehi City officials.
Right now, the Utah County Health Department has reported 12 total cases of E. coli.
Lehi City officials noted that pressurized irrigation water is not linked to the city’s culinary drinking water system, but encouraged residents to exercise caution when consuming uncooked produce from personal gardens that have been watered using irrigation water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fruits and vegetables should only be consumed after thorough cooking to eliminate E. coli risk. Additionally, according to the CDC, washing produce may not eliminate the bacteria fully.
To prevent E. coli-reated illnesses, Lehi City officials encouraged residents to not drink irrigation water and to avoid irrigation water in recreational activities.
Additionally, officials said to be careful when allowing children to play on lawns that have been watered with irrigation water, as E. coli can stick around even when lawns are not wet.
When tending to your lawn or garden, Lehi City officials said to wear gloves to minimize direct contact with irrigation water. Additionally, officials said to wash your hands with soap and water after handling potentially exposed produce or soil.