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Water Quality

Anderson Dog Park Water Quality Information

Background: The 13--acre dog park was at one time a flat hay field. A conceptual plan was developed by Run Dog Run and approved by Gallatin County that included the creation of a 3-pond system linked by streams to add wetland features, improve the aesthetic look of the park and to provide the opportunity for dogs to recreate in the water via a beach and diving dock. Only 1 of the 3 ponds is available for dog recreation. 

The Ponds: It should be understood that the ponds are fed by groundwater; there is no stream that flows into the southern-most pond. Like all groundwater ponds, it is not unusual for water quality to change with water temperature, rainfall, runoff, etc. Unlike a pool, there is no filtering system or water treatment system in this pond. Water quality can vary from day to day and week to week. As such, neither Run Dog Run nor Gallatin County can guarantee that the ponds at Anderson Dog Park are safe to swim in or drink from at any point in time. Park users need to recognize these factors and understand that use of the ponds is at the dog owner's risk. If you have a concern about health-related consequences of your dog swimming in or drinking from a pond, please keep them out of the ponds. 

Water Quality Efforts: Run Dog Run has installed an aeration system to agitate the water and boost oxygen levels as well as reduce algae growth in the one pond that is open to dogs. Run Dog Run volunteers also perform algae raking periodically, dependent upon volunteer availability. We also visually inspect the pond to attempt to detect the presence of blue-green algae. None of these activities can guarantee water quality, however.

Testing: Run Dog Run also performs E coli testing an average of 3 times per year from July - September. We submit 3 different samples of pond water - taken from different locations in the pond - to Bridger Analytics for testing. We have been advised that E coli testing can give a general measurement of water quality. Given the complexities of testing requirements for giardia and other possible parasites / contaminants, we only test for E coli. This is consistent with how the County tests other ponds at the Regional Park.

Important Notes About Testing: We are not aware of any study that has declared what a safe level of E coli in pond water is for dogs to recreate in or drink from; the data simply doesn't exist. However, the EPA has created guidance for water quality standards for human recreation in ponds and lakes. The level of 320 cfu per 100ML of water measured for E coli testing is considered the level above which there should be concern about negative health effects while humans recreate in ponds and lakes. Water from three different locations in the dog beach pond at Anderson Dog Park is tested and if the E coli level ever exceeds 250 cfu per 100ML, we will close the pond until the E coli level falls below the 250 cfu per 100ML level. Please note that this 250 E coli level is somewhat arbitrary and there is no guarantee that if the pond is open, it is safe for dogs to recreate in or drink from. We will post the E coli test results on this website starting in July, 2022. Please note, however, that there is no guidance we can find that indicates what pond-water E coli level is acceptable for dogs to drink from. It is likely much lower than the 320 cfu level for recreation. If your dog drinks from the pond, please understand that we make absolutely no guarantee that it will not get sick. 

July, 2022 Test Results:

E-coli in Location #1: 58 cfu per 100ml

E-coli in Location #2: 86 cfu per 100ml

E-coli in Location #3: 77 cfu per 100ml.

August, 2022 Test Results:

E-coli in Location #1: 48 cfu per 100ml

E-coli in Location #2: 38 cfu per 100ml

E-coli in Location #3: 86 cfu per 100ml.

July, 2023 Test Results:

E-coli in Location #1: 16 cfu per 100ml

E-coli in Location #2: 11 cfu per 100ml

E-coli in Location #3: 7 cfu per 100ml.

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