Document Type


Publication Date

January 1985


Introduction: The rising level of the Great Salt Lake has received a great deal of attention because of the resulting physical damage to adjoining properties, threatened distruption of major transportation facilities, and environmental damage to feeding and resting areas for migratory waterfowl. Another problem of growing concern is that some zones of the lake are producing odors that are objectionable to nearby populated areas. These odors are most offensive during the warm summer months and appear to be increasing with the rising levels and decreasing salinity of the lake water. This report presents the approach taken and the findings of a short-term investigation completed by the Utah Water Research Laboratory to determine the sources and mechanisms causing the odor. At the outset of the study, it was hypothesized that the odors come from one or more of the following sources: 1) bottom sediments which contain municipal and agricultural seqage residues and industrial wastes; 2) decay of algal blooms and the organic material produced by the algae; 3) decaying vegetative matter on land areas that have only recently been inundated by the rising water of the lake; and 4) decaying pupae cases of brine flies. The first tree of these were investigated briefly in the laboratory using lake water and sediment samples. Information on brine flies was derived from the literature from numerous studies taht have been made during recent years.