E. Coli found in area pond: Residents urged not to fish

HEREFORD, Texas----City employees in Hereford are asking residents not to fish in a popular pond after lab tests showed elevated levels of harmful bacteria in the water.

It was a breezy, yet Sunday Feb. 29 day at the park off East 15th St. but within minutes, you could tell something just wasn't right.

The pond's shoreline filled with dead fish and geese, was the first sign of danger in the water.

"The parks director contacted me and said the he has concerns due to the high count of geese in the lake and that we may have some E. Coli issues," City Manager Rick Hanna said.

Water samples were sent off, and results quickly came back.

"The samples did indicate elevated levels of E. Coli in the Hereford Aquatic Center Pond," he said.

E. Coli is a bacteria which could lead to intestinal problems if ingested.

Hanna says "No Fishing" signs have been posted across the park because he doesn't want anyone getting sick.

"It's a very popular fishing spot but just as a precautionary measure, we put the signs and don't want anybody fishing until we get the lake treated and the water back into the condition where we feel that it's safe."

City officials believe the culprits to blame are birds.

"This just happened because of all the geese that we have had," Hanna said. "At one time we estimated over 20,000 geese on that two acre pond."

We're told the water treatment process will take about 45 days.

Thus far, the city says there have been no reports of residents falling ill to contaminated fish from that pond.

A more thorough lab test is in the works right now.

Those results are expected to come in sometime next week.