The Bromide Pavilion in Chickasaw National Recreation Area drew many thousands of people annually to drink the mineral-rich waters piped from nearby Bromide and Medicine Springs. Periodic detection of fecal coliform bacteria in water piped to the pavilion from the springs, low yields of the springs, or flooding by adjacent Rock Creek prompted National Park Service officials to discontinue piping of the springs to the pavilion in the 1970s. Park officials would like to resume piping mineralized spring water to the pavilion to restore it as a visitor attraction, but they are concerned about the ability of the springs to provide sufficient quantities of potable water.
Pumping and sampling of Bromide and Medicine Springs and Rock Creek six times during 2000 indicate that these springs may not provide sufficient water for Bromide Pavilion to supply large numbers of visitors. A potential problem with piping water from Medicine Spring is the presence of an undercut, overhanging cliff composed of conglomerate, which may collapse. Evidence of intermittent inundation of the springs by Rock Creek and seepage of surface water into the spring vaults from the adjoining creek pose a threat of contamination of the springs.
Escherichia coli, fecal coliform, and fecal streptococcal bacteria were detected in some samples from the springs, indicating possible fecal contamination. Cysts of Giardia lamblia and oocysts of Cryptosporidium parvum protozoa were not detected in the creek or the springs. Total culturable enteric viruses were detected in only one water sample taken from Rock Creek.