By Herb Dayton, Lakewood
It is time once again for the annual announcement that Steilacoom Lake is Toxic. This is a classic example of government incompetence if not tyranny. There is no reason to allow the public to be exposed to these very dangerous toxins. This decision to sacrifice the homeowners and anyone who uses the Lake to the altar of environmental extremism is in my opinion criminal.
The toxins produced can kill your pets. If ingested, it could kill you or at the very least make you very sick. The Pierce County Health Dept. confirms this with their announcement and warnings. What they refuse to say is that this is an easily preventable hazard.
There is a treatment approved by the US EPA that controls the algae and is used in, at last count, 48 or 49 states. In 1989, the Wa. State Dept. of Ecology decided that they would ignore the science and the 50 years of experience using the treatment on Lake Steilacoom and ban its use.
The treatment is Copper Sulfate. Applied according to US EPA instructions, it is the only safe, effective and economical way to prevent toxic algae. The DOE’s decision to ban its use was all about political power and very little about the environment. Science did not support the DOE ban!
This is still true today.
The Pierce County Health Dept., the City of Lakewood and the “Consultants ?” hired to study this algae problem are all vying for millions of dollars in Wa DOE grant money and dare not rock the boat. If you question the tyrants in Olympia on this issue, you face the loss of funds In many different areas. So it is to heck with the citizens we represent we dare not question Olympia. The political calculations were made and the 300+ homeowners on Lake Steilacoom were sacrificed.
Unfortunately, it is not just Lake Steilacoom that is toxic. Many urban lakes in Western Wa. are allowed to become toxic on a regular basis. Waughop and Wapato lakes are two very close to home. There have been tens of millions of dollars wasted on consultants who are paid to give the DOE what they want. The studies typically quantify the problem, state the obvious contributing factors, but never dare suggest a viable or even economical solution. If a consultant dares question DOE orthodoxy, said consultant will have very little or no chance for future work from the DOE. The cycle of wasting our tax dollars continues without results and our lakes continue to be toxic needlessly.