Oregon Declines to Fully OK Drinking Water at Crater Lake
August 1, 1975
CRATER LAKE, Ore. (AP) – The Oregon Health Division has declined to fully endorse the National Park Service’s decision that the water at Crater Lake National Park is safe enough that the park can be reopened.
Park Supt. Richard Sims announced Wednesday that contamination from a sewage line had been cleared up and the park would be reopened on a limited basis today.
Bob Oliver, health division administrator, issued a statement questioning whether the water is entirely safe.
“The authority to reopen Crater Lake Park rests entirely with the National Park Service and the federal government,” he said. “However, the State Health Division is concerned about public use of Munson Springs water for drinking purposes even though it is to be treated by a filtration system.”
Water from the spring became contaminated with sewage early in July, and the park was closed July 11 after tests revealed the pollution. Hundreds of visitors and park residents became ill before the contamination was discovered.
Oliver said the park’s drinking water system still contains traces of human waste, which are filtered out by a newly installed filter system near the source.
The water could cause further illness if the filtration system broke down or malfunctioned, or if the sewer line crossing the pumice field above the spring leaked, the division reported.
It added, “While properly functioning treatment of Munson Springs water appears adequate for removal of bacteria and parasite contamination, it does not assure protection from disease-causing viruses.”
It is still not known whether bacteria, parasites, viruses, or a combination caused the illnesses from the water.
Oliver said the National Park Service has assured the Health Division there will be daily monitoring of Munson Springs water, plus weekly laboratory tests, until water from another source can be piped to the park headquarters and the lake’s rim area.