BOISE -- Esther Simplot Park ponds reopened Thursday, months after an E. coli outbreak left the water unsafe for swimming.
According to Boise Parks and Recreation, E. coli levels have gone down, and have been consistently below the acceptable levels required by state water quality standards.
“We’re very happy that the public can enjoy these ponds in the way they were intended,” said Doug Holloway, Boise Parks and Recreation director. “Public health and safety is always our first priority. While E. coli is always present in ponds like these, low levels are not considered a public health hazard and we once again have confidence that these ponds are ready for recreational use.”
The popular ponds, along with nearby Quinn's Pond, were closed in mid-June after the high bacteria levels were discovered during routine testing. Quinn's Pond reopened June 30, but remains off-limits to dogs.
According to city officials, testing revealed that dog and goose feces were the main sources of the bacteria. City staff are working to clean up animal feces around the ponds, and water from Quinn's Pond has been flushed through the Esther Simplot ponds.
Boise is also working with the Ada County Highway District to pump out the pond water and fix a filtration system for a nearby stormwater retention basin that was not draining correctly. A French drain has also been installed around the beach to cath irrigation runoff.
Water testing at both Esther Simplot Park and Quinn’s Pond will continue daily. Dogs are no longer allowed at either park, Boise officials say.
Visitors to the ponds are urged to shower after swimming, pick up after dogs and keep them out of the water, and avoid ingesting the water or feeding geese or ducks.