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There is a lot of pollution around, and a lot of abuses of the natural resources. For example, on I-80 in Nevada, it is not uncommon to see some sort of man-made factories around what appears to be natural hot-springs (what do they usually do?), plus there's also always a danger of natural pathogens like E. coli.

Is there any good way to determine if a given body of water (lake, salt lake, hot spring) is safe to submerge oneself into?

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Even a beach with many people already bathing is not a reliable indicator. – mouviciel Jun 30 '13 at 7:31
@MarcelC. - Not exactly: this one asks for all waters in the world. – mouviciel Jun 30 '13 at 8:30
Then the other one is a duplicate. If not, I think that some people might even argue that this question is too broad etc. – André Peseur Jun 30 '13 at 11:31
@MarcelC. - I agree with you. Moreover, I think that this is more suited to outdoors SE. – mouviciel Jun 30 '13 at 11:59

In France, there is the "Pavillon Bleu" label which marks beaches where water quality is such that you can bathe safely.

This has spread internationally, as the Blue Flag programme.

From the site:

The Blue Flag is a voluntary eco-label awarded to more than 3850 beaches and marinas in 48 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean.

The Blue Flag works towards sustainable development of beaches and marinas through strict criteria dealing with Water Quality, Environmental Education and Information, Environmental Management, and Safety and Other Services.

The Blue Flag Programme is owned and run by the non-government, non-profit organisation the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).

Unfortunately, Nevada (and USA) is not part of that programme.

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Nevada doesn't have any beaches anyway :) – Flimzy Jul 3 '13 at 0:26

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