Submitted by Don Russell, Lakewood resident
Monday night after hearing testimony that an alum treatment in Waughop Lake would have a negative impact on Waughop Lake’s already degraded condition the City of Lakewood Council voted 6 to 1 to approve an alum application.
Following is the testimony I submitted just prior to the council’s vote:
TESTIMONY IN OPPOSITION TO AN ALUM TREATMENT OF WAUGHOP LAKE
My name is Don Russell. I am an American Lake north shore property owner.
I recommend that Council not approve Waughop Lake Management Plan’s first phase whole lake application of alum. Why? Because an alum treatment will have a negative impact on Waughop Lake’s already degraded condition.
During the first year of alum’s application the water in Waughop Lake will become clear and there will be no toxic algal bloom. Park goers will be elated.
The year following the alum application excessive aquatic plant growth will occur as a result of Waughop Lake’s improved water clarity, the lake’s shallowness, the plentiful supply of aquatic plant nutrients contained in its bottom sediments, and the absence of competition by blue-green algae for sunlight and nutrients. The upper portion of these plants will blanket the surface of Waughop Lake and render it unfit for ongoing water quality monitoring, kayaking, fishing, model boat racing or eventual sediment removal operations. In the fall these plants will die off and wash ashore to form mounds of dead, rotting and foul smelling aquatic plant residue. Park goers will wonder how this could happen and why the City of Lakewood spent $210,000 on a treatment that the City was advised in advance would cause this situation.
What are my qualifications to make such a statement?
I am a 1953 graduate of the University of Washington’s School of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.
From 1965 through 1960 I was a Clover Park High School Earth Science and Biology teacher.
From 1961 through my retirement in 1996 I was a chemist who formulated, monitored and maintained metal salt solutions that were used to electroplate cadmium, chromium, copper, brass, and nickel on steel and zinc die cast architectural hardware products. Later in my work career I became President of an aluminum anodizing facility and eventually President of a large architectural aluminum building products company. Our waste effluent contained high concentrations of aluminum sulfate so I am very familiar with this material as both a pollutant and as a material (alum) that can be used to clarify sewage treatment plant waste water and as an inactivator of phosphorus in lakes.
For the past 17 years I have been a City of Lakewood volunteer water quality monitor. In this capacity I have acquired firsthand knowledge of the impaired condition of streams and lakes located through our City and the Chambers-Clover Creek watershed and an understanding of what needs to be done to restore their beneficial use by salmon and people. Alum treatments simply are not one of those desirable restoration options.
In closing alum applications are frequently recommended by consultants but infrequently applied and for many good reasons, some of which I have noted in my opening remarks.
City Council is advised to not approve an application of alum to Waughop Lake. Instead all options for funding the removal of several feet of accumulated nutrient polluted sediment from Waughop Lake should be pursued.
- Discovery of a high volume discharging spring located at the bottom of the southwest cove of Lake Steilacoom
- Developed an explanation as to why Gravelly Lake takes on an electric blue color in the early summer and does not experience toxic algae blooms
- After the 2004 death of a dog on Lake Steilacoom advocated and coauthored with Representative Gigi Talcott a bill that led to the creation of the State’s Freshwater Algae Control Program
- Advocated and gained Ecology’s acceptance of calcium salt (calcium oxide, calcium hydroxide) applications as a recognized and permitted method for inactivating phosphorus in lakes
- Warned Lake Steilacoom Improvement Club members prior to their decision to spend $350,000 to acquire 9 SolarBee units to prevent toxic algae blooms in Lake Steilacoom that they would not work
- Was the advocate for and architect of the 2008 application of calcium hydroxide in Waughop Lake
- Past Technical Director and current Executive Committee member of the Chambers-Clover Creek Watershed Council
- Volunteer lake water quality monitor for Waughop Lake for the past 8 years
- A contributing author for the drafting of the 2012 Waughop Lake Cleanup Plan
- Author of a plan for the restoration of the City of DuPont’s degraded Sequalitchew Creek watershed
- Technical advisor to property owners who want to cleanup sediment and aquatic growth impaired Tule Lake (Spanaway)
- Advocate for and project lead on an experimental application of finely granulated iron powder as a technique for inactivating phosphorus in a Federal Way lake.
- Outspoken critic of the recently completed Brown & Caldwell $400,000 Spanaway Lake Management Plan which failed to obtain the support of Spanaway Lake shoreline property owners