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Quinn's Pond reopens; Esther Simplot ponds remain closed due to unsafe E. coli levels

Posted at 10:45 AM, Jun 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-30 19:57:47-04

The City of Boise is reopening Quinn’s Pond for recreational use Friday -- after tests show E. coli levels there continue to drop well below state water quality standards -- which is considered safe for swimming and wading, according to Boise City Parks and Recreation Department officials.

“However, daily water quality tests of the nearby ponds in Esther Simplot Park continue to show unsafe levels of E. coli bacteria in the water near the children’s beach and in other areas of the ponds,” said Parks and Recreation spokesperson Bonnie Shelton. “As a result, the ponds inside Esther Simplot Park will remain closed until City of Boise staff are confident that E. coli levels are consistently reporting below the state water quality standards for recreational use.”

Signs in the area clearly mark the closed areas -- and the public is highly encouraged to stay out of the closed ponds. 

City staff received DNA testing results back from a lab in Florida that have identified dog feces as the main source of the E. coli bacteria in both ponds. Tests also show goose feces is a contributing factor.

These test results show that the popularity of the ponds and high use by people and their pets has created an unsafe environment, Shelton added.

“Keeping the health and safety of our residents who use the ponds top of mind, City of Boise leaders have decided dogs will no longer be allowed at Quinn’s Pond or Esther Simplot Park, with the exception of cold winter months (Nov. 1 to Feb. 28) when the bacteria does not thrive,” Shelton said.

The parks and ponds will be signed alerting the public to the change, which also includes the previously designated dog off-leash area in Esther Simplot Park.

“These are very popular parks and people understandably love to take their pets when they visit,” said Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway. “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.”

E-coli infection can, in some rare cases, be fatal. Symptoms include abdominal cramping; sudden, severe watery diarrhea that may change to bloody stools, gas, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and fever.

The City will be increasing animal control officer patrols at Quinn’s Pond and Esther Simplot Park to enforce the new rules and anyone found breaking them will be cited.