As E. coli levels decline, Esther Simplot ponds could soon re-open

Posted at 5:40 PM, Aug 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-15 19:40:12-04

After nearly two months of being off-limits, city officials say the two ponds could reopen soon, as tests show E. coli levels have been steadily declining. 

"The level of the E. coli bacteria has decreased significantly over the last couple of weeks, and so we're very optimistic," said Doug Holloway, City of Boise Parks and Recreation Director.

City officials closed the park ponds -- and nearby Quinn's Pond -- on June 21, after E. coli levels tested above the quality standard level fo recreational use. 

Waste from dogs and geese were determined to be the main sources of the bacteria. 

Due to the elevated E. coli levels, the City of Boise will not reverse its decision to ban dogs from both ponds at the park; and efforts to condition geese to stay away from the ponds have been mostly successful. 

But officials also believe faulty draining in a nearby storm water detention basin could have also contributed to the high bacteria levels.

"This particular basin has been holding water for several months, so our public works team decided to test where the seepage is occurring into Esther Pond 1, and determined that there was a significantly high level of E. coli coming from the retention [basin]." Holloway said.

That basin has been drained and crews are working to fix its drainage and filtration system.

City officials are looking at different locations around Boise -- and near water -- to create a pet-friendly recreational area, now that the Esther Simplot Ponds are off-limits for dogs.