City officials hope to reopen Esther Simplot Pond soon

Officials say they are working to fix the problem.

BOISE - The City of Boise is expecting triple-digit temperatures into the weekend. But for those looking to jump into Esther Simplot Pond, it's still off limits because of unsafe levels of E.coli.

City officials say it's still wait and see, but now the city has identified a new factor they believe is contributing to the problem. With that identified the city hopes to fix the problem soon.

Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway says new water tests at Esther Simplot Park point to a faulty storm drainage pond as a contributing factor to high E.coli levels.

"It was designed to not retain water, so there was a design flaw in how that water is being captured," said Holloway.

Tests show that standing water that has collected at the entrance to the park for months also has high levels of E.coli.

City engineers believe it's possible the water is seeping into the pond.

"We are going to empty that basin out, and we are going to redesign how it filters and drains so there will never be standing water there, and there won't be an opportunity for that water to seep into the pond," said Holloway.

To help clean the water, the city is also moving limited water from a nearby canal through Quinn’s Pond and into Esther Simplot pond.

Originally, city officials said they believed dogs and geese were to blame for the issues.

Now, two more rounds of DNA testing have confirmed that was definitely the source. Because of that dogs are no longer allowed in the water.

"By eliminating the sources and managing the sources, we believe that is the best route to take to try and get the bacteria out," said Holloway.

The city also decided the easiest way to fix the geese problem is to scare them off.

To do that they contracted the perfect guy to get creative.

"Basically what he does is he uses a dog and a remote control boat in the pond to make the geese feel uncomfortable," said Holloway.

The city says so far, it looks like the geese are getting the message.

"They start to feel so uncomfortable that they don't believe Esther Simplot Park or Quinn’s Pond are places they want to be," said Holloway.

The city says there is a good chance the pond at Esther Simplot Park could reopen later this summer

"We haven't gotten there yet but our numbers are significantly lower than what they were, so we know we are heading in the right direction, said Holloway. "Once we get below that safe level and stay there for a week to 10 days then we will feel comfortable with an opportunity to open the ponds back up."

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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