INFORUM.com | WDAZ.com

WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 02, 2013, 04:52 PM

Gravel pits are dangerous to swim in, sometimes illegal

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- Swimming in gravel pits does have it's benefits, the bottom is sandy, the water can be a clear, but officials say the dangers outweigh the benefits.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- Swimming in gravel pits does have it's benefits, the bottom is sandy, the water can be a clear, but officials say the dangers outweigh the benefits.

Gravel pits are very dangerous to swim in, and in some it's illegal.

There are dozens of gravel pits north of Highway 10 and around Felton. Most of the pits are on private property, but the Felton Gravel Pit is open to the public.

Phillip Seafeldt- MNDNR Conservation Officer: "People just need to be aware of the dangers when they come out here."

DNR Water conservation officer Phillip Seafeldt says swimming in this pit, which is about 100 feet deep is at your own risk.

Seafeldt: "I guess the way we look at it is there's always that inherent danger when swimming, wether your swimming in a public swimming pool, a lake, a river, or an area like this."

The most dangerous part about swimming in a pit are the unknowns. The depth of the water can change in an instant.

Pete Fendt- Valley Water Rescue: "You'll be standing in one spot and be comfortable and the next step there can be no bottom under you anymore."

Pete Fendt with Valley Water Rescue says you also don't know what's beneath you. Supplies from mining could be left behind from years ago.

Fendt: "Getting tangled up in a cable that's on the bottom, getting cut by the cables."

The water temperature in a gravel pit is typically much colder than in lakes and rivers because it's spring fed. Swimming in cold temperatures like this will make your body tense up and you can lose the ability to swim much faster.

Fendt: "All of the sudden you drop down, your head is under, and you know, you gasp a little bit of water and it kind of starts the drowning process."

While the water may look inviting, Fendt says it's better to stay out all together

Fendt: "They are man made and they are not made or dug as a swimming area."

Motor vehicles are not permitted passed the gravel road at the Felton Pit. If you're caught you could be charged.

Tags: