WASHINGTON CITY – Work may commence this fall to help make Warm Springs in Washington City — more commonly known as the “Boilers” — a more friendly location for people wading into the pond. During a work meeting Tuesday, the Washington City Council gave a verbal nod to dredging the pond later this year.
“I remember when they dredged it last,” Councilman Garth Nisson said. “I was 5 years old. It was 1956.”
Mike Shaw, the city’s public works director, said the bottom of the pond is currently littered with broken glass and sediment.
Removing the sediment and debris that has settled into the bottom of the Boilers would be a simple operation, Shaw said. Since the city currently lacks the proper equipment to do the job, however, it will have to be subcontracted.
Once dredged, a layer of stone could be placed on the bottom of the pond, topped with a layer of sand.
It is believed by the engineers the city is consulting for the project that the new surfacing could enhance the existing springs that feed the pond, Shaw said.
Any dredging would not take place until the fall, as the Boilers is currently being used as a source of irrigation for residents in the downtown area.
“Irrigation people are really possessive of their water,” City Manager Roger Carter said.
It wasn’t certain how deep the pond would become after the dredging. Currently, parts of the pond appear to be 2-3 feet deep at the most. According to the Washington County Historical Society, the pond is reputed to have once been up to 9 feet deep at its deep end.
Dredging the pond will be part of the city’s continuing efforts to clean up the Boilers and the area around it, Mayor Ken Neilson said. The city wants to make the old swimming hole more accessible to the public like it used to be, he said.
“I think it’s a great project, a worthy project,” Councilman Jeff Turek said.
Between 1999 and December 2014, the city fenced off access to the Boilers due to public safety concerns. The fence eventually came down following a resurgence of public interest surrounding the pond.
Since 2012, a nonprofit group called The Boiling Springs Ecoseum & Desert Reserve has focused on the spring. It is the intent of the group to restore and preserve the Boilers while also creating a nature conservatory around the body of water.
While some on the City Council have supported the idea, the majority hasn’t been so keen with the nonprofit’s previous efforts to lease the land around the Boilers from the city.
The city has the area around the Boilers master planned as a park.
The Boilers, located just north of Interstate 15 at approximately 200 W. Buena Vista Blvd., holds a sentimental and historical value to several Washington City residents. The mayor and council members Nisson and Turek each have memories of swimming in the warm, spring-fed pond in their youth.
On the more practical side, the Boilers also serves as an aforementioned source of irrigation.
The pond is naturally fed artesian-style by three warm springs with an output of 30,000 gallons per hour. The temperature of the water also stays at a 70-75 degree range year-round.
Neilson previously told St. George News he used to swim there during the winter months as a child.
The water from the springs appears to “boil” up through the sand in the bottom of the pond, giving it the Boilers’ moniker.
For many decades, people have dumped their unwanted aquatic pets into the Boilers. Anything from goldfish to frogs to turtles. Thanks to the warm temperatures, a number of the pets tend to survive and flourish.
Among the non-native fish found in the Boilers has been a pacu, a species of fish related to the piranha. A large pacu was caught by a curious fisherman in June 2015 while visiting the pond.
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