Three CALM units were established at the 1992 gathering: one in Bus Village, one near Elk Park and one further up Cow Creek drainage. CALM units maintained communication with each other with CB radios.
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six locations in and around Overland Reservoir were selected. Samples were tested for fecal coliform, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Testing for fecal coliform and ammonia was done at the Delta City lab; nitrite and nitrate tests were run at the Delta County Health Department. Discrepancies between fecal coliform colony counts (which showed samples far exceeding minimum standards of 200/100 ml.) and results from the other three tests (which indicated samples far below minimum standards of 0.02 mg/1 unionized for ammonia, 0.050 mail for nitrite and 10.0 mg/1 for nitrate) indicated problems with the lab technique being used (more emphasis on visual count of colonies, less on microscopic verification J. Beginning June 30, a different lab technique was used (microscopic verification) to determine fecal coliform colony counts and split samples were tested at the Colorado Department of Health Western Branch Laboratory. Results from all labs from June 30 - July 30 were consistent: readings were far below minimum standards. The two control sites did show spikes in fecal coliform on July 8. Livestock were present in both these areas, and the spike occurred after moderate summer rains.
The DCHD provided the personnel to take and test the water samples. The FS paid for their time, testing mediums, sterile collection containers, and transportation costs.
There were logistical problems in getting the water samples to the labs, due both to distance and time required to complete the testing. On weekends, samples had to be flown to Grand Junction for analysis.
In addition to water quality sampling, the DCHD posted bright green signs at all stream crossings, in CALM and kitchen facilities asking Rainbow Family members to please not bathe, swim, wash clothes or utensils, use soap or detergents or eliminate body wastes in streams or lakes. These requests were generally respected, however some bathing and washing did occur in streams and Overland Reservoir.
Some foaming began to appear in several waterways around Overland Reservoir, during the gathering. There was concern expressed that the foaming may be due to phosphate contamination. It was determined that the foaming was due to natural organic matter in the water - NOT phosphates.
The results of the water quality monitoring show that the Rainbow gathering had essentially no negative impacts on water quality in and around Overland Reservoir.
The DCHD/CDH primary management objective was to minimize the impacts to local health care providers by keeping the Rainbow Family as healthy as possible. Because the vast majority of Family members were visitors to the area and likely not aware of local health concerns, the health department distributed information about:
- Ticks (Ticks were not found at Overland Reservoir but occur at lower altitudes. Many gathering participants hitch hiked or walked through these areas. Ticks transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme Disease. )
- Plague (Transmitted by fleas from small mammals, present at Overland Reservoir. )
- Altitude Sickness (Overland Reservoir/Elk Park is located at 10,000 feet in elevation. )
- Dehydration (Participants may avoid drinking water due to possible contamination.
Figure 1 Vicinity Map
In May, 1992, representatives of CALM sent a copy of their "Plan for Health and Sanitation for the Rainbow International Peace and Healing Gathering'' to the Colorado State Health Department. This plan outlined steps the family would take concerning development/protection of water sources, latrine use and maintenance, recycling, waste disposal, food sanitation and family medical care. This plan was generated as a result of previous court rulings requiring the Rainbow family to meet minimum health and sanitation standards at gatherings. CALM representatives followed up with visits to the local health department. hospital, ambulance service and clinics when they came into the area.
CALM misrepresented their actual facilities. Visits to CALMunits by health department officials and local hospital staff revealed that CALM was only equipped to provide first aid medical attention. CALM requested the hospital provide structures they could set up in, but these requests were denied. CALM eventually set up in old army tents and tarp covered pole structures. Many of the bandages they had were old surplus military issue. Other supplies were limited. No protocol was established to deal with emergency situations. CAL~SI also misrepresented the health care needs of gathering participants and how services rendered would be paid for.
To reduce the pressure on local health care providers, Delta County Memorial Hospital provided CALM with bandages, antibacterial ointment, rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. Additionally, the Delta County Health Department distributed 11,000 prophylactics and information on aids and other communicable diseases to CAINE. The Forest Service prepared a Safety Plan which described the actions to be taken in the event of an emergency.
CALM was very receptive to any information concerning health and sanitation. Health department and Forest Service officials discussed any health and sanitation deficiencies found in the gathering with CAl~51, and CAINE enforced the correction of these deficiencies.
At the 1992 gathering, there appeared to be a rift between some CALMvolunteers, so contacts were made with each CALM.
Colorado Report/ Part 3