E. coli found in local swimming ponds
More than a week after officials closed two of Boise’s most popular swimming spots due to high levels of E. coli bacteria, one of them has been reopened, according to a press release from Boise Parks and Recreation — but your pets are no longer allowed to join you at either park.
Quinn’s Pond has reopened for use after daily testing showed bacteria levels consistently below state water quality standards; however, neighboring Esther Simplot ponds still show unsafe levels of E. coli and remain closed until further notice, officials say.
What’s more, officials have banned dogs from both parks (except from Nov. 1 through Feb. 28) — DNA testing showed that the main source of the E. coli bacteria was dog feces, according to the release. Goose feces were also a contributing factor.
According to the release, the parks and ponds will be marked with signs informing visitors of the ban on dogs, which extends to an area of Esther Simplot Park that was previously designated for off-leash dog use. (Find information on Boise parks with off-leash areas here.)
Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway in the release acknowledged that the ban on furry family may be discouraging to some pond users.
“These are very popular parks and people understandably love to take their pets when they visit,” Holloway said. “However, the high use by people and their pets along with the warm temperatures has created significant public health concerns. Please heed these continued closures for the sake of your own and your loved one’s health.”
Officials said in particular, the children’s beach area of Esther Simplot ponds showed high levels of E. coli. The city will continue to test the water in both ponds daily to be sure that bacteria levels remain safe in Quinn’s Pond and to monitor the situation in Esther Simplot Park.
Parks and Recreation is working to “flush” the ponds with clean water via irrigation and groundwater flows. The department is also working on moving geese out of the area.
Officials said animal control officers in the area will cite any pet owners who bring their dogs into either park.