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E. Coli Problem in Boise Ponds Has Improved, but What Caused it?

Dunbar town beach, Wisconsin, USA
Credi: baluzek/ThinkStock

Over the last few months, a number of local ponds had to be closed do to unusually high E. coli levels.  Now, and investigation has completed to understand how it happened.

The first actions officials from the City of Boise took was to reduce or eliminate the main source of the E. coli at Quinn’s Pond and the two ponds in close proximity to Esther Simplot Park.  It all came down to poop.  “Leftovers,” from both dogs and geese.

The other step they took was to flush the water in the ponds to clear out what might have been lagging behind and start with fresh water.  The tests conducted subsequently have shown a reduction in the E. coli levels.  Quinn’s Pond reopened a month ago, the other two are still closed.

E. coli can have severe consequences, including death, so the caution the city is showing makes sense.  As tests showed continued problematic levels, City of Boise officials sents samples to a lab in Florida.  They came back with definitive answers that the levels were caused by goose and canine feces, and when the weather warmed, the levels spiked.

Dogs are now prohibited from the ponds, and city officials hope that will help to keep levels under control.  As for the geese, that’s harder to control.

For more on the background and plans moving forward, check out coverage from the Idaho Statesman.

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