Efforts to Improve Water Quality at Swimming Ponds

June 3, 2019

The City of Boise has completed several new projects to improve water flow and water quality in the swimming ponds located at Esther Simplot Park, Quinn’s Pond and Veterans Memorial Park.

It’s important to remember the ponds are open bodies of water and are not treated with chlorine like municipal pools. Users always swim at their own risk. 

Park Improvements

A series of aerators have been placed at the bottom of Quinn’s Pond and in the ponds throughout Esther Simplot Park. The aerators will increase water circulation and the amount of oxygen in the water, helping to keep down water temperatures that can stimulate bacteria growth. These aerators will be turned on over the next several days and users may notice some slight changes in water color or temperature as this process is completed.

A pipe from the Boise River into Quinn’s Pond has also been installed to increase water flow from the Boise River and will be used to cycle water throughout the series of ponds. 

Water Quality

The ponds are tested weekly by trained city staff to monitor E. coli, algae and bacteria levels. Should E. coli levels rise above state standards for swimming or if a toxic algae bloom is detected, the ponds will be closed to public use.

The City of Boise has taken measures throughout the winter and spring to improve water quality and decrease levels of E. coli and other bacteria in the water. 

Limiting the Spread of E. coli

There are three common feces/waste sources that contribute to the amount of E. coli bacteria in the ponds:

  1. Dogs - Please remember that dogs are not allowed in Quinn’s Pond, in the ponds at Esther Simplot Park or in Veterans Pond. Anyone found in violation of this city code can be fined.
  2. Geese - The city will continue to work with a licensed contractor who uses a trained dog to make the geese uncomfortable so they don’t settle in the parks. A ground sweeping machine has also been acquired to pick up goose feces and prevent additional contamination in the ponds.
  3. Humans - Parents are always encouraged to put their children in swim diapers to prevent accidents in the pond water.

More information on pond bacteria and E. Coli can be found here.

Pond Use Reminders 

As the weather warms up, it’s important to remember some important tips to help keep the ponds at Quinn’s and Esther Simplot Park open for public swimming.

  • No pets are allowed in the parks or in the water
  • Do not feed the geese or ducks
  • Use swim diapers
  • Shower after swimming
  • Don’t swim when you’re sick
  • Properly dispose of trash

It takes the entire community to ensure water quality in our public parks. Thank you for your cooperation and we look forward to a successful season on the water.

Contact: Parks and Recreation Media Relations

(208) 608-7648 | bshelton@cityofboise.org

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